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Mirella Telles Salgueiro Barboni, Cristiane Maria Gomes Martins, Balázs Vince Nagy, Tina Tsai, Francisco Max Damico, Marcelo Fernandes da Costa, Rita de Cassia, M. Pavanello, Naila Cristina Vilaça Lourenço, Antonia Maria Pereira de Cerqueira, Mayana Zatz, Jan Kremers, Dora Fix Ventura; Dystrophin Is Required for Proper Functioning of Luminance and Red–Green Cone Opponent Mechanisms in the Human Retina. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(8):3581-3587. doi: 10.1167/iovs.16-19287.
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Visual information is processed in parallel pathways in the visual system. Parallel processing begins at the synapse between the photoreceptors and their postreceptoral neurons in the human retina. The integrity of this first neural connection is vital for normal visual processing downstream. Of the numerous elements necessary for proper functioning of this synaptic contact, dystrophin proteins in the eye play an important role. Deficiency of muscle dystrophin causes Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), an X-linked disease that affects muscle function and leads to decreased life expectancy. In DMD patients, postreceptoral retinal mechanisms underlying scotopic and photopic vision and ON- and OFF-pathway responses are also altered.
In this study, we recorded the electroretinogram (ERG) while preferentially activating the (red–green) opponent or the luminance pathway, and compared data from healthy participants (n = 16) with those of DMD patients (n = 10). The stimuli were heterochromatic sinusoidal modulations at a mean luminance of 200 cd/m2. The recordings allowed us also to analyze ON and OFF cone-driven retinal responses.
We found significant differences in 12-Hz response amplitudes and phases between controls and DMD patients, with conditions with large luminance content resulting in larger response amplitudes in DMD patients compared to controls, whereas responses of DMD patients were smaller when pure chromatic modulation was given.
The results suggest that dystrophin is required for the proper function of luminance and red–green cone opponent mechanisms in the human retina.
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