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J Brule, C Casanova, P Lachapelle, M Hebert; Pre-ovulation Increase In Scotopic ERG Amplitudes . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(13):1199.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Purpose: Previous studies have suggested a male-female difference in retinal function as measured with the electroretinogram (ERG). The goal of this study was to determine if this gender difference could be influenced by the menstrual cycle. Methods: Photopic (background 30 cd.m-2) and scotopic (20 minutes dark adaptation) ERGs were recorded with a DTL fibre electrode in 16 pre-menopausal, naturally-cycling women during the luteal and follicular phases of two consecutive menstrual cycles. Results were compared to those obtained at regular time intervals from 6 age-matched male subjects. All recording sessions took place at the same time of day. Results: Photopic and scotopic ERGs are significantly larger in females (p<0.05) compared to males. Neither male nor female photopic and scotopic ERGs showed significant intersession (or inter-cycle) variability (p≷0.05). However, in 9 of the 16 women, we found a marked increase of 18,7 ± 8.7% in the amplitude of the scotopic Vmax for measurements taken during the follicular phase compared to those of the luteal phase (intra-cycle comparisons). No similar intra-cycle differences could be measured in the remaining 7 subjects. Photopic responses did not yield an equivalent folliculo-luteal cycle. Conclusion: In at least 9 of our subjects, retinal function appears to be modulated by the menstrual cycle. A tighter monitoring of the retinal function within the menstrual cycle, especially closer to ovulation, is necessary before we can attest to the universality of this effect. The reasons as to why this effect could only be demonstrated with scotopic responses remain unknown. It could be the result of characteristics intrinsic to the retinal estrogenic receptors. Although some questions remain unanswered, our results suggest that we should take this cyclical variation into consideration when interpreting ERG results from women. Funded by FRSQ, NSERC, CIHR, GRENE and Réseau-Vision.
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