Dopaminergic agonists that result in ocular growth inhibition also elicit transient increases in choroidal thickness in chicks

Exp Eye Res. 2010 Nov;91(5):715-20. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2010.08.021. Epub 2010 Aug 27.


The dopaminergic system has been implicated in ocular growth regulation in chicks and monkeys. In both, dopamine D2 agonists inhibit the development of myopia in response to form deprivation, and in chicks, to negative lenses as well. Because there is mounting evidence that the choroidal response to defocus plays a role in ocular growth regulation, we asked whether the effective agonists also elicit transient thickening of the choroid concomitant with the growth inhibition. Negative lenses mounted on velcro rings were worn on one eye starting at age 8-12 days. Intravitreal injections (20 μl; dose = 10 nmole) of the agonist (dissolved in saline) or saline, were given through the superior temporal sclera using a 30G needle. Eyes were injected daily at noon, for 4 days, and the lenses immediately replaced. Agonists used were apomorphine (non-specific; n = 17), quinpirole (D2; n = 10), SKF-38393 (D1; n = 9), and saline controls (n = 22). For the antagonists, the same protocol was used, but on each day, the lenses were removed for 2 h. Immediately prior to lens-removal, the antagonist was injected (20 μl; dose = 5 nmole). Antagonists used were methylergonovine (non-specific; n = 12), spiperone (D2; n = 20), SCH-23390 (D1; n = 6) and saline controls (n = 27). Comparisons to saline (continuous lens wear) controls were from the agonist experiment. Axial dimensions were measured using high frequency A-scan ultrasonography at the start of lens wear, and on day 4 prior to the injections, and then again 3 h later. Refractive errors were measured using a Hartinger's refractometer at the end of the experiment. Apomorphine and quinpirole inhibited the refractive response to the hyperopic defocus induced by the negative lenses (drug vs saline controls: -1.3 and 1.2 D vs -5.6 D; p < 0.005 for both). This effect was axial: both drugs prevented the excessive ocular elongation (change in axial length: 233 and 205 μm vs 417 μm; p < 0.01 for both). Both drugs were also associated with a transient thickening of the choroid over 3 h (41 and 32 μm vs -1 μm; p < 0.01; p = 0.059 respectively) that did not summate: choroids thinned significantly over the 4 day period in all lens-wearing eyes. Two daily hours of unrestricted vision during negative lens wear normally prevents the development of myopia. Spiperone and SCH-23390 inhibited the ameliorating effects of periods of vision on lens-induced refractive error (-2.9 and -2.8 D vs 0.6 D; p < 0.0001), however, the effects on neither axial length nor choroidal thickness were significant. These data support a role for both D1 and D2 receptors in the ocular growth responses.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 2,3,4,5-Tetrahydro-7,8-dihydroxy-1-phenyl-1H-3-benzazepine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Apomorphine / pharmacology
  • Chickens
  • Choroid / drug effects*
  • Choroid / pathology
  • Dopamine Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Dopamine Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Eye / growth & development*
  • Eye / metabolism
  • Eyeglasses
  • Hypertrophy
  • Injections
  • Myopia / prevention & control*
  • Quinpirole / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1 / agonists
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / agonists
  • Refraction, Ocular / drug effects*
  • Vitreous Body


  • Dopamine Agonists
  • Dopamine Antagonists
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Quinpirole
  • 2,3,4,5-Tetrahydro-7,8-dihydroxy-1-phenyl-1H-3-benzazepine
  • Apomorphine