The development of new treatments for intractable retinal diseases requires reliable functional assessment tools for animal models. In vivo measurements of neural activity within visual pathways, including electroretinogram (ERG) and visually evoked potential (VEP) recordings, are commonly used for such purposes. In mice, the ERG and VEPs are usually recorded under general anesthesia, a state that may alter sensory transduction and neurotransmission, but seldom in awake freely moving mice. Therefore, it remains unknown whether the electrophysiological assessment of anesthetized mice accurately reflects the physiological function of the visual pathway. Herein, we describe a novel method to record the ERG and VEPs simultaneously in freely moving mice by immobilizing the head using a custom-built restraining device and placing a rotatable cylinder underneath to allow free running or walking during recording. Injection of the commonly used anesthetic mixture xylazine plus ketamine increased and delayed ERG oscillatory potentials by an average of 67.5% and 36.3%, respectively, compared to unanesthetized mice, while having minimal effects on the a-wave and b-wave. Similarly, components of the VEP were enhanced and delayed by up to 300.2% and 39.3%, respectively, in anesthetized mice. Our method for electrophysiological recording in conscious mice is a sensitive and robust means to assess visual function. It uses a conventional electrophysiological recording system and a simple platform that can be built in any laboratory at low cost. Measurements using this method provide objective indices of mouse visual function with high precision and stability, unaffected by anesthetics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)