An extended 15 Hz ERG protocol (2): data of normal subjects and patients with achromatopsia, CSNB1, and CSNB2

Doc Ophthalmol. 2011 Dec;123(3):161-72. doi: 10.1007/s10633-011-9293-y. Epub 2011 Sep 27.


The amplitude versus flash strength curve of 15 Hz electroretinograms (ERGs) shows two minima. The minima are caused by interactions between the primary and the secondary rod pathways (first minimum), and the secondary rod pathway and the cone-driven pathway (second minimum). Furthermore, cone pathway contributions cause higher-order harmonics to occur in the responses. We measured 15 Hz ERGs in 20 healthy subjects to determine normal ranges and in patients to verify our hypotheses on the contributions of the different pathways and to investigate the clinical application. We analyzed the amplitudes and phases of the 15, 30, and 45 Hz components in the ERGs. The overall shape of the 15 Hz amplitude curves was similar in all normal subjects and showed two minima. The 30 and 45 Hz amplitude curves increased for stimuli of high flash strengths indicating cone pathway contributions. The 15 Hz amplitude curve of the responses of an achromat was similar to that of the normal subjects for low flash strengths and showed a minimum, indicating normal primary and secondary rod pathway function. There was no second minimum, and there were no higher-order harmonics, consistent with absent cone pathway function. The 15 Hz ERGs in CSNB1 and CSNB2 patients were similar and of low amplitude for flash strengths just above where the first minimum normally occurs. We could determine that in the CSNB1 patients, the responses originate from the cone pathway, while in the CSNB2 patients, the responses originate from the secondary rod pathway.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Color Vision Defects / physiopathology*
  • Dark Adaptation / physiology*
  • Electroretinography / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Night Blindness / congenital
  • Night Blindness / physiopathology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiopathology*
  • Young Adult