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April 1962

The Pharmacology of the Pigeon Pupil

Author Affiliations

Durham, N.C.
Division of Ophthalmology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1962;67(4):501-504. doi:10.1001/archopht.1962.00960020501020

The avian ciliary body and iris contain striated muscle rather than smooth muscle. Only reptiles share this unique feature.1 Both Boehm and Iske reported successful mydriasis in birds with local curare2,3; however, Wood obtained no mydriasis with either local curare or atropine, but he did report modest success with local nicotine.4 Presumably the oculomotor nerve controls the pigeon pupil, because stimulation of the oculomotor nerve, ciliary ganglion, or ciliary nerve causes miosis, while stimulation of the cervical sympathetic ganglia and fibers has no effect upon the pupil.3 This study was performed as an attempt to clarify the pharmacology of the pigeon pupil.

Materials and Methods  The common pigeon, Columba livia, was used. Representative skeletal muscle relaxants, parasympatholytics, sympathomimetics, and surface-active agents were selected. Five pigeons (10 eyes) were used for each drug except nicotine, in which case only 2 birds (4 eyes) were used. Two to

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