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Shuo Zhang, Polina Lyuboslavsky, Jendayi Azeezah Dixon, Micah A. Chrenek, Jana T. Sellers, Jessica M. Hamm, Christophe P. Ribelayga, Zhijing Zhang, Yun Z. Le, P. Michael Iuvone; Effects of Cone Connexin-36 Disruption on Light Adaptation and Circadian Regulation of the Photopic ERG. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(6):24. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.61.6.24.
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The present study tested the hypothesis that connexin-36 (Cx36) and gap junctions between photoreceptor cells contribute to the circadian rhythm of the photopic electroretinogram (ERG) b-wave amplitude.
Cone-specific disruption of Cx36 was obtained in mice with a floxed Gjd2 gene and human red/green pigment promoter (HRGP)-driven Cre recombinase. Standard ERG, spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) and histochemical methods were used.
HRGPcreGjd2fl/fl mice had a selective reduction in Cx36 protein in the outer plexiform layer; no reduction in Cx36 was observed in the inner plexiform layer. Cx36 disruption had no effect on the number of cones, the thickness of the photoreceptor layer, or the scotopic ERG responses. However, there was a reduction of the photopic ERG circadian rhythm, with b-wave amplitudes in the day and the night locked in the daytime, light-adapted state. In HRGPcreGjd2+/+ and Gjd2fl/fl controls, the circadian rhythm of light-adapted ERG persisted, similar to that in wild type mice.
Cx36 regulation contributes to the circadian rhythm of light-adapted ERG; in the absence of photoreceptor gap junctions, mice appear to be in a fully light-adapted state regardless of the time of day. The higher amplitudes and reduced circadian regulation of the b-wave of HRGPcreGjd2fl/fl mice may be due to increased synaptic strength at the cone to ON bipolar cell synapse due to electrotonic isolation of the terminals lacking gap junctions.
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