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Diminished Pupillary Light Reflex at High Irradiances in Melanopsin-Knockout Mice

R. J. Lucas, S. Hattar, M. Takao, D. M. Berson, R. G. Foster and K. -W. Yau
Science
New Series, Vol. 299, No. 5604 (Jan. 10, 2003), pp. 245-247
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3833337
Page Count: 3
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Abstract

In the mammalian retina, a small subset of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) are intrinsically photosensitive, express the opsin-like protein melanopsin, and project to brain nuclei involved in non-image-forming visual functions such as pupillary light reflex and circadian photoentrainment. We report that in mice with the melanopsin gene ablated, RGCs retrograde-labeled from the supra-chiasmatic nuclei were no longer intrinsically photosensitive, although their number, morphology, and projections were unchanged. These animals showed a pupillary light reflex indistinguishable from that of the wild type at low irradiances, but at high irradiances the reflex was incomplete, a pattern that suggests that the melanopsin-associated system and the classical rod/cone system are complementary in function.

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