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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

On-line version ISSN 1414-431X


BEREZOVSKY, A.; SALOMAO, S.R.  and  BIRCH, D.G.. Pupil size following dark adaptation in patients with retinitis pigmentosa. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2001, vol.34, n.8, pp.1037-1040. ISSN 1414-431X.

According to the equivalent light hypothesis, molecular defects in the photoreceptor lead to a continuous activation of the photoreceptor cascade in a manner equivalent to real light. The consequences in diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa (RP) are as disruptive to the cells as real light. Two forms of the equivalent light hypothesis can be distinguished: strong - mutations in rhodopsin or other cascade proteins in some forms of RP continuously excite the visual phototransduction cascade; weak - disruption of outer segments in all patients with RP eliminates circulating dark current and blocks neurotransmitter release in a manner similar to real light. Both forms of the equivalent light hypothesis predict that pupils of patients with RP will be constricted like those of normal subjects in the light. The purpose of this study was to test the equivalent light hypothesis by determining whether steady-state pupil diameter following full dark adaptation is abnormally small in any of a sample of patients with RP. Thirty-five patients with RP and 15 normal subjects were tested. Direct steady-state pupillometric measures were obtained from one eye in a full-field dome after 45 min of dark adaptation by videotaping the pupil with an infrared camera. Mean pupil diameter in the dark was comparable (t = -0.15, P = 0.88) between patients with RP (6.85 ± 0.58 mm) and normal subjects (6.82 ± 0.76 mm). The results of the present study are clearly counter to the prediction of the second (weaker) form of the equivalent light hypothesis.

Keywords : pupil; retina; retinitis pigmentosa.

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