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Neuroscience. 1995 Oct;68(3):909-24.

The pupillary light response: assessment of function mediated by intracranial retinal transplants.

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Department of Occupational Therapy Education, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City 66160, USA.


We have adapted a pupillometry measurement system to test the functional efficacy of retinae previously transplanted over the midbrain of neonatal rats in mediating a pupillary light reflex in the host eye. This has permitted us to examine factors influencing various parameters of the response, and to study transplant-mediated responses in comparison with responses mediated by way of the normal consensual pathway. Despite the unusual location of these transplanted retinae and the absence of supportive tissues normally associated with retinae in situ, it is clear that pupilloconstriction in the host eye can be elicited by transplant illumination. Under the optimal conditions here defined, response parameters for individual animals were stable with repeated testing over extended periods. When considered as individual cases, response amplitude, constriction rate and response latency were intensity dependent, although responses elicited by transplant illumination were less sensitive than normal, typically by 2-3 log units. Large-amplitude transplant-mediated pupillary responses could, however, be elicited repeatedly throughout long trains of stimuli, unlike normal responses, which rapidly failed to recover to baseline under similar test conditions. Finally, even though some cellular elements of the visual cycle are absent in transplanted retinae, pupilloconstriction in the host eye could be elicited repeatedly by transplant illumination as long as two years after transplantation took place. These observations indicate the applicability of this preparation as an assay for the effects of experimental manipulations on information processing and response plasticity in the visual system, and as a tool for examining, in general, the necessary conditions for optimal function of grafts that work by synthesizing and relaying neural signals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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