Melanopsin ganglion cell function in early age-related macular degeneration

Maynard, Michelle Lorraine, Zele, Andrew J., & Feigl, Beatrix K. (2015) Melanopsin ganglion cell function in early age-related macular degeneration. In ARVO 2015 : Powerful Connections: Vision Research and Online Networking, 3-7 May 2015, Denver, Colerado.

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Melanopsin-expressing retinal ganglion cells (mRGCs) have non-image forming functions including mediation of the pupil light reflex (PLR). There is limited knowledge about mRGC function in retinal disease. Initial retinal changes in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occur in the paracentral region where mRGCs have their highest density, making them vulnerable during disease onset. In this cross-sectional clinical study, we measured the PLR to determine if mRGC function is altered in early stages of macular degeneration.


Pupil responses were measured in 8 early AMD patients (AREDS 2001 classification; mean age 72.6 ± 7.2 years, 5M, and 3F) and 12 healthy control participants (mean age 66.6 ± 6.1 years, 8M and 4F) using a custom-built Maxwellian-view pupillometer. Stimuli were 0.5 Hz sinewaves (10 s duration, 35.6° diameter) of short wavelength light (464nm, blue; retinal irradiance = 14.5 log to produce high melanopsin excitation and of long wavelength light (638nm, red; retinal irradiance = 14.9 log, to bias activation to outer retina and provide a control. Baseline pupil diameter was determined during a 10 s pre-stimulus period. The post illumination pupil response (PIPR) was recorded for 40 s. The 6 s PIPR and maximum pupil constriction were expressed as percentage baseline (M ± SD).


The blue PIPR was significantly less sustained (p<0.01) in the early AMD group (75.49 ± 7.88%) than the control group (58.28 ± 9.05%). The red PIPR was not significantly different (p>0.05) between the early AMD (84.79 ± 4.03%) and control groups (82.01 ± 5.86%). Maximum constriction amplitude in the early AMD group for blue (43.67 ± 6.35%) and red (48.64 ± 6.49%) stimuli were not significantly different to the control group for blue (39.94 ± 3.66%) and red (44.98 ± 3.15%) stimuli (p>0.05).


These results are suggestive of inner retinal mRGC deficits in early AMD. This non-invasive, objective measure of pupil responses may provide a new method for quantifying mRGC function and monitoring AMD progression.

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ID Code: 90222
Item Type: Conference Item (Other)
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1552-5783
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Biomedical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Optometry & Vision Science
Deposited On: 16 Nov 2015 00:57
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2015 00:57

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