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Elucidation of Cellular Mechanisms That Regulate the Sustained Contraction and Relaxation of the Mammalian Iris

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journal contribution
posted on 20.01.2021, 05:36 by S Sghari, WIL Davies, L Gunhaga
Purpose: In mammals, pupil constriction and dilation form the pupillary light reflex (PLR), which is mediated by both brain-regulated (parasympathetic) and local iris-driven reflexes. To better understand the cellular mechanisms that regulate pupil physiological dynamics via central and local photoreception, we have examined the regulation of the PLR via parasympathetic and local activation, respectively. Methods: In this study, the PLR was examined in mouse enucleated eyes ex vivo in real-time under different ionic conditions in response to acetylcholine and/or blue light (480 nm). The use of pupillometry recordings captured the relaxation, contraction, and pupil escape (redilation) processes for 10 minutes up to 1 hour. Results: Among others, our results show that ryanodine receptor channels are the main driver for iridal stimulation-contraction coupling, in which extracellular influx of Ca2+ is required for amplification of pupil constriction. Both local and parasympathetic iridal activations are necessary, but not sufficient for sustained pupil constriction. Moreover, the degree of membrane potential repolarization in the dark is correlated with the latency and velocity of iridal constriction. Furthermore, pupil escape is driven by membrane potential hyperpolarization where voltage-gated potassium channels play a crucial role. Conclusions: Together, this study presents new mechanisms regulating synchronized pupil dilation and contraction, sustained pupil constriction, iridal stimulation-contraction coupling, and pupil escape.


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Investigative ophthalmology & visual science






(p. 5)



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