Clinical electrophysiology of two rod pathways: Normative values and clinical application

H. Scholl, H. Langrová, B. Weber, E. Zrenner, E. Apfelstedt-Sylla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The scotopic 15-Hz flicker electroretinogram (ERG) has two limbs (slow and fast ERG rod signals), and these have been attributed to two retinal rod pathways (the ON rod bipolar and A II amacrine pathway and the rod-cone gap-junction pathway). The aim of this study was to provide normative values of the scotopic 15-Hz flicker ERG, to estimate the inter-individual variability, and to apply this method to a clinical setting. Methods: Twenty-two normal subjects, one patient with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), and two patients with Stargardt's macular dystrophy (SMD) participated in the study. The SMD patients were screened for mutations in the 50 exons of the ABCA4 (formerly ABCR) gene. We measured ERG response amplitudes and phases to flicker intensities ranging from -3.37 to -0.57 log scotopic trolands s at a flicker frequency of 15 Hz. Results: The normal scotopic 15-Hz. flicker ERG showed a biphasic amplitude pattern with a minimum at about -1.57 log scotopic trolands s, where there was an abrupt phase shift of about 180 deg. The inter-individual variability in ERG amplitude ranged from 47% to 67% for the slow and from 41% to 64% for the fast rod signal. Both the RP patient and the SMD patients (who were compound heterozygotes for mutations in the ABCA4 gene) showed reduced amplitudes for the two rod ERG pathways. Conclusion: The inter-individual variability might be explained by anatomical differences between individual retinae. In the RP patient, the amplitude reductions corresponded well with the standard rod ERG. In the SMD patients, however, the scotopic 15-Hz flicker ERG revealed rod dysfunction, whereas the standard rod ERG was within normal limits; The scotopic 15-Hz flicker method may be more sensitive than the standard rod ERG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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