Central neural circuits for the light-mediated reflexive control of choroidal blood flow in the pigeon eye: A laser Doppler study

Academic Article


  • Electrical stimulation in pigeons of the input from the medial subdivision of the nucleus of Edinger-Westphal (EWM) to the choroidal neurons of the ipsilateral ciliary ganglion, which themselves have input to the choroidal blood vessels of the ipsilateral eye, increases choroidal blood flow (ChBF). Since the EWM receives input from the contralateral suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which in turn receives contralateral retinal input, the present study sought to determine if activation of the SCN by microstimulation or by retinal illumination of the contralateral eye would also yield increases in ChBF in that same eye. Using laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF) to measure ChBF, we found that electrical activation of the contralateral SCN by 100-Hz anodal pulse trains yielded increases in ChBF that were stimulus related and proportional to the stimulating current. These increases in ChBF elicited by the SCN stimulation were accompanied by increases in choroidal volume (vasodilation), but not by increases in systemic blood pressure. Furthermore, the increases could be blocked reversibly by lidocaine injection into the EWM. These results suggest that the increases in ChBF in the eye contralateral to the SCN stimulation were specifically mediated by the SCN-EWM pathway. Retinal illumination with a fiber optic light source was also found to increase ChBF in the illuminated eye, and these effects too could be blocked reversibly with lidocaine injection into the EWM or permanently by the EWM lesion. Control studies confirmed that the light-elicited increases were mediated by increases in choroidal volume (i.e. vasodilation), were not accompanied by systemic blood pressure increases, and were not artifactually generated by transocular illumination of the LDF probe. Thus, the SCN-EWM circuit may be involved in regulating ChBF in response to the level of retinal illumination and/or the visual patterns failing on the retina.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Fitzgerald MEC; Gamlin PDR; Zagvazdin Y; Reiner A
  • Start Page

  • 655
  • End Page

  • 669
  • Volume

  • 13
  • Issue

  • 4