Cone-based vision in the aging mouse

Vision Res. 2007 Jul;47(15):2037-46. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2007.03.023. Epub 2007 May 16.


People often experience age-related declines in cone-based visual capacities despite an absence of apparent visual pathology. Although mice are used as models of human visual pathologies associated with aging, little is known about how age impacts vision in animals with disease-free retinas since most studies have heretofore examined relatively young mice. We examined the effects of age on cone-based vision by assessing opsin gene transcription, cone densities, the flicker electroretinogram (ERG), and behavioral increment thresholds in mice. ERG measurements of cone function showed age-related declines in maximum voltage (Vmax), while opsin gene transcription, cone density, and increment thresholds were unchanged even in extremely old mice. The age-related decline in Vmax seen in mice is qualitatively similar to that documented for human subjects. It is notable that Vmax, a commonly used index of ERG activity, does not predict behavioral performance in the mouse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Electroretinography
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Models, Animal
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Rod Opsins / biosynthesis
  • Rod Opsins / genetics
  • Sensory Thresholds
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Rod Opsins