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July 1956

The Effect of epinephrine upon the Rabbit Electroretinogram

Author Affiliations

U.S.A.F. School of Aviation Medicine, Randolph Field, Texas, and Kresge Eye Institute, Detroit.

AMA Arch Ophthalmol. 1956;56(1):100-108. doi:10.1001/archopht.1956.00930040108012

Effects of chemical agents upon the eye have long been favored as a means of analyzing the electrical phenomena in response to illumination and of studying the organization of retinal function. In this study the electroretinogram (ERG) serves as a detector of effects which epinephrine (Adrenalin) might exert upon the mammalian retina. Our interest in the substance epinephrine stems from the chemical relationship of epinephrine to the precursor of melanin (as found in the pigment epithelium). Apparently both are manufactured from a basic amino acid, tyrosine. Recent experimental evidence would indicate that the slow waves of the electroretinogram depend upon membrane functions of the pigment epithelium. The electroretinogram therefore would enable us to test whether epinephrine affects specifically the retinal pigment cells.

There are several other facts which point to the possibility of a relationship between epinephrine and pigment epithelium. First, epinephrine readily produces changes in the distribution of the