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Amanda Mui, Tracy Obertone, Moon Han, Jana Sellers, Moe Aung, Han na Park, Jeffrey Boatright, Machelle Pardue; Early Visual Stimulation Leads to Visual Enhancement. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):2499.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Visual experience in early development influences the growth of retinal and cortical neurons. Daily stimulation from optokinetic tracking (OKT) in early development in rats leads to hypernormal visual acuity thresholds. In addition, mice raised in enriched environments, with sources of novel visual stimulation, show hyperacuity that is dependent on brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). In this study, we determined whether daily OKT could enhance visual acuity in mice and if effects were associated with increased BDNF levels.
Four cohorts of wild-type C57BL/6J mice were tested with OKT (n=22) from P16 to P23-25. Stimulated mice were exposed to daily OKT testing until visual acuity thresholds were obtained. Control mice were placed on the OKT platform for 10 minutes with a gray background screen. On the last day, visual acuity thresholds were also obtained in control mice. Immediately following the final testing, mice were sacrificed and eyes enucleated and fixed. Radial sections were labeled with anti-BDNF and imaged with fluorescent microscopy. BDNF protein levels were determined by ELISA (n=7).
Daily OKT testing resulted in 60% greater visual acuity thresholds compared to control mice (p<0.001). BDNF-labeled sections showed greater labeling in the retinal ganglion cell layer of OKT-stimulated mice compared to controls. OKT-stimulated retinas had a trend for higher BDNF protein levels compared to controls. No difference was found in brain protein.
Daily visual stimulation using OKT during early development enhances visual function in C57BL/6J mice. This effect appears to be associated with increased BDNF levels in the retina, but not in the brain. Further confirmation of BDNF involvement in the development of hyperacuity is being tested using a tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) antagonist.
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