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Vision Res. 1996 Aug;36(16):2609-21.

An alternative phototransduction model for human rod and cone ERG a-waves: normal parameters and variation with age.

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Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine, FL 33136, USA.


A quantitative description of the activation reactions in the cGMP phototransduction cascade has been recently developed [Lamb & Pugh (1992). Journal of Physiology, 449, 719-758]. When applied to the human electroretinogram a-wave, the widely used simplified form of this model provides a good description of all waveforms except those elicited with very high energy stimuli. The basis for these misfits at high energies is explored in the current study and an alternative model of phototransduction is derived that retains the quantitative aspects but avoids certain simplifying assumptions previously made. The new model describes well both rod- and cone-isolated a-waves over a large range of stimulus energies extending up to those that cause significant bleaching. To facilitate clinical application of this methodology, a short test protocol is developed and normal data for rod and cone transduction parameters are provided over a wide age range. In the sample of normal subjects studied, maximum amplitude of rod and cone a-waves and sensitivity of the cone a-wave do not change with age. An age-related decline in rod a-wave sensitivity is present and it is greater than that expected from pre-retinal absorption alone.

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