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Retinal A2A and A3 adenosine receptors modulate the components of the rat electroretinogram


Adenosine is a neuromodulator present in various areas of the central nervous system, including the retina. Adenosine may serve a neuroprotective role in the retina, based on electroretinogram (ERG) recordings from the rat retina. Our purpose was to assess the role of A2A and A3 adenosine receptors in the generation and modulation of the rat ERG. The flash ERG was recorded with corneal electrodes from Sprague Dawley rats. Agonists and antagonists for A2A and A3 receptors, and adenosine were injected (5 µl) into the vitreous. The effects on the components of the single flash scotopic and photopic ERGs were examined, and ERG flicker. Adenosine (0.5 mM) increased the mean amplitudes of the scotopic ERG a-waves (68 ± 8 to 97 ± 14 µV, P = 0.042), and b-waves (236 ± 38 µV to 305 ± 42 µV). A2A agonist CGS21680 (2 mM) reduced the mean amplitude of the ERG b-wave, from 298 ± 21 µV in response to the brightest stimulus to 212 ± 19 µV (P = 0.005), and mean scotopic oscillatory potentials (OPs) from 100 ± 9 µV to 47 ± 11 µV (P = 0.023). ZM241385 [4 mM], an A2A antagonist, decreased the scotopic b-wave of the ERG. A3 agonist 2-CI-IB-MECA (0.5 mM) increased the a-wave, while decreasing the scotopic and photopic ERG b-waves, and the scotopic OPs. A3 antagonist VUF5574 (1 mM) increased the mean amplitude of the scotopic a-wave (66 ± 8 to 140 ± 29 µV, P = 0.046) and b-wave (224 ± 20 to 312 ± 39 µV, P = 0.0037). No significant effects on ERG flicker were found. We conclude that retinal neurons containing A2A and/or A3 adenosine receptors contribute to the generation of the ERG a- and b-waves and OPs.

Corresponding author
*Address correspondence to: Thor Eysteinsson, PhD, Department of Physiology, University of Iceland, Vatnsmyrarvegur 16, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland. E-mail:
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Visual Neuroscience
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