Purpose: To investigate the effects of tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) and alpha-lipoic-acid (ALA) on the visual response properties of cat retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in wholemount retinas.
Methods: Young adult cats were divided into three groups: control, ALA, and TUDCA. In vitro single-unit extracellular recordings were performed on wholemount retinas to objectively evaluate the visual response properties of RGCs prior and post to antioxidant treatment. The visual responses properties of RGCs, including receptive field size, luminance threshold, and contrast sensitivity, were collected online and analyzed off-line with Axon Pclamp9.
Results: Most of the RF sizes were larger than those plotted prior to the 60 minutes dark adaptation. The luminance threshold was elevated in the control group (no treatment) but reduced post ALA treatment and significantly reduced post TUDCA treatment. The contrast threshold was significantly elevated in the control group (no treatment) and clearly elevated post ALA treatment but effectively sustained post TUCDA treatment.
Conclusions: Retinal neurocircuitry deteriorates in wholemount retinas, resulting in abnormal visual response properties in RGCs. Alpha-lipoic-acid and TUDCA exerted beneficial neuroprotective effects by activating the antioxidant pathway, partially restoring the functionality of retinal neurocircuitry and significantly improving the visual response properties of RGCs. However, TUDCA appears to be more effective than ALA in reducing irradiance thresholds and improving contrast sensitivity.