Intrinsically photosensitive melanopsin retinal ganglion cell contributions to the post-illumination pupil response and circadian rhythm

Markwell, Emma Louise (2011) Intrinsically photosensitive melanopsin retinal ganglion cell contributions to the post-illumination pupil response and circadian rhythm. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) in the eye transmit the environmental light level, projecting to the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) (Berson, Dunn & Takao, 2002; Hattar, Liao, Takao, Berson & Yau, 2002), the location of the circadian biological clock, and the olivary pretectal nucleus (OPN) of the pretectum, the start of the pupil reflex pathway (Hattar, Liao, Takao, Berson & Yau, 2002; Dacey, Liao, Peterson, Robinson, Smith, Pokorny, Yau & Gamlin, 2005). The SCN synchronizes the circadian rhythm, a cycle of biological processes coordinated to the solar day, and drives the sleep/wake cycle by controlling the release of melatonin from the pineal gland (Claustrat, Brun & Chazot, 2005). Encoded photic input from ipRGCs to the OPN also contributes to the pupil light reflex (PLR), the constriction and recovery of the pupil in response to light. IpRGCs control the post-illumination component of the PLR, the partial pupil constriction maintained for > 30 sec after a stimulus offset (Gamlin, McDougal, Pokorny, Smith, Yau & Dacey, 2007; Kankipati, Girkin & Gamlin, 2010; Markwell, Feigl & Zele, 2010). It is unknown if intrinsic ipRGC and cone-mediated inputs to ipRGCs show circadian variation in their photon-counting activity under constant illumination. If ipRGCs demonstrate circadian variation of the pupil response under constant illumination in vivo, when in vitro ipRGC activity does not (Weng, Wong & Berson, 2009), this would support central control of the ipRGC circadian activity. A preliminary experiment was conducted to determine the spectral sensitivity of the ipRGC post-illumination pupil response under the experimental conditions, confirming the successful isolation of the ipRGC response (Gamlin, et al., 2007) for the circadian experiment. In this main experiment, we demonstrate that ipRGC photon-counting activity has a circadian rhythm under constant experimental conditions, while direct rod and cone contributions to the PLR do not. Intrinsic ipRGC contributions to the post-illumination pupil response decreased 2:46 h prior to melatonin onset for our group model, with the peak ipRGC attenuation occurring 1:25 h after melatonin onset. Our results suggest a centrally controlled evening decrease in ipRGC activity, independent of environmental light, which is temporally synchronized (demonstrates a temporal phase-advanced relationship) to the SCN mediated release of melatonin. In the future the ipRGC post-illumination pupil response could be developed as a fast, non-invasive measure of circadian rhythm. This study establishes a basis for future investigation of cortical feedback mechanisms that modulate ipRGC activity.

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ID Code: 44136
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Zele, Andrew, Feigl, Beatrix, & Smith, Simon
Keywords: intrinsically photosensitive Retinal Ganglion Cells (ipRGC), melanopsin, pupil light reflex, post-illumination pupil response, cone photoreceptor, rod photoreceptor, circadian rhythm, melatonin
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Optometry & Vision Science
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 22 Aug 2011 06:39
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2011 06:39

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