Purpose: Nob mice share the same mutation in the Nyx gene that is found in humans with complete congenital stationary night blindness (CSNB1). Nob mutant mice were studied to determine whether this defect resulted in myopia, as it does in humans.
Methods: Refractive development was measured in unmanipulated wild-type C57BL/6J (WT) and nob mice from 4 to 12 weeks of age by using an infrared photorefractor. The right eye was form deprived by means of a skull-mounted goggling apparatus at 4 weeks of age. Refractive errors were recorded every 2 weeks after goggling. The content of dopamine and the dopamine metabolite 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) were measured by HPLC with electrochemical detection (HPLC-ECD) in retinas of nob and WT mice under light- and dark-adapted conditions.
Results: The nob mice had greater hyperopic refractive errors than did the WT mice under normal visual conditions, until 12 weeks of age when both strains had similar refractions. At 6 weeks of age, refractions became less hyperopic in the nob mice but continued to become more hyperopic in the WT mice. After 2 weeks of form deprivation (6 weeks of age), the nob mice displayed a significant myopic shift (~4 D) in refractive error relative to the opposite and control eyes, whereas WT mice required 6 weeks of goggling to elicit a similar response. As expected with loss of ON pathway transmission, light exposure did not alter DOPAC levels in the nob mice. However, dopamine and DOPAC levels were significantly lower in the nob mice compared with WT.
Conclusions: Under normal laboratory visual conditions, only minor differences in refractive development were observed between the nob and WT mice. The largest myopic shift in the nob mice resulted after form deprivation, suggesting that visual pathways dependent on nyctalopin and/or abnormally low dopaminergic activity play a role in regulating refractive development. These findings demonstrate an interaction of genetics and environment in refractive development.