Functional Assessment of Melanopsin-Driven Light Responses in the Mouse: Multielectrode Array Recordings

Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1753:289-303. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7720-8_20.


Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) are a special subset of retinal output neurons capable of detecting and responding to light via a unique photopigment called melanopsin. Melanopsin activation is essential to a wide array of physiological functions, especially to those related to non-image-forming vision. Since ipRGCs only constitute a very small proportion of retinal ganglion cells, targeted recording of melanopsin-driven responses used to be a big challenge to vision researchers. Multielectrode array (MEA) recording provides a noninvasive, high throughput method to monitor melanopsin-driven responses. When synaptic inputs from rod/cone photoreceptors are silenced with glutamatergic blockers, extracellular electric signals derived from melanopsin activation can be recorded from multiple ipRGCs simultaneously by tens of microelectrodes aligned in an array. In this chapter we describe how our labs have approached MEA recording of melanopsin-driven light responses in adult mouse retinas. Instruments, tools and chemical reagents routinely used for setting up a successful MEA recording are listed, and a standard experimental procedure is provided. The implementation of this technique offers a useful paradigm that can be used to conduct functional assessments of ipRGCs and NIF vision.

Keywords: Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells; Melanopsin; Mouse; Multielectrode array; Retina.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microelectrodes
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques / instrumentation
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques / methods*
  • Photic Stimulation / instrumentation
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / metabolism*
  • Rod Opsins / metabolism*
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / metabolism


  • Rod Opsins
  • melanopsin