Purpose: To describe a naturally occurring X-linked recessive mutation, no b-wave (nob), that compromises visual transmission between photoreceptors and second-order neurons in mice.
Methods: Affected mice were identified by recording the light-evoked response of the retina, the electroretinogram (ERG). To evaluate visual transmission, cortical potentials were recorded with a scalp electrode. The inheritance pattern for nob was defined by breeding nob animals with normal mice. Retinal histologic analysis was performed by light microscopy.
Results: Although the photoreceptor-mediated ERG component (a-wave) was normal in nob mice, the major response component reflecting postreceptoral neuronal activity (b-wave) was missing. Visually-driven cortical activity was also abnormal in nob animals. At the light microscopic level, the nob retina appeared to have a normal cytoarchitecture.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that the nob defect interferes with the transmission of visual information through the retina and that these mice are a useful model for the study of outer retinal synaptic function. In addition, this mutant mouse seems to provide an animal model for the complete form of congenital stationary night blindness, a human disorder in which patients have a profound loss of rod-mediated visual sensitivity.