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The multifocal pattern electroretinogram (mfPERG) and cone-isolating stimuli



The number of L cones in the retina normally exceeds that of the M cones. Because normal color vision does not depend on the ratio of L- and M-photoreceptors, their signals must undergo an alteration in gain before being analyzed in the cortex. Previous studies have shown that this gain must take place before the cortex, but after the bipolar/amacrine cell layer of the retina. The aim of this study was to obtain topographical information about L- and M-cone activity at the ganglion cell layer using multifocal pattern electroretinography (mfPERG). A standard (black and white) stimulus was used, as well as stimuli modulating only the long wavelength-sensitive (L) or only the middle wavelength-sensitive (M) cones. The L:M ratio was calculated from the amplitude of the L-cone isolating mfPERG to that of the M-cone isolating mfPERG of 10 trichromats. Both the positive and negative components of the waveform were analyzed. Additional recordings of single cone modulated mfERGs were obtained from nine of the 10 subjects. We also recorded from one protanope and one deuteranope. The L:M cone amplitude ratios for both deflections of the mfPERG in the trichromats were around unity (medians 1.18 and 1.16, respectively) for the central 8° of retina. In the peripheral retina between 12.8° and 26°, this ratio increased to 1.42 for the positive component, and 1.37 for the negative component. The median L:M cone amplitude ratios for the mfPERG were higher and ranged between 1.00–2.78 in the central 8° and 1.29–2.78 in the periphery. The results indicate that a major gain adjustment of the retinal signals takes place at the ganglion cell level, and that the ratio is higher at eccentric locations than in the central retinal area.


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Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Anne Kurtenbach, Center for Ophthalmology, University of Tübingen, Schleichstrasse 12-16, 72076 Tübingen, Germany. E-mail:


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The multifocal pattern electroretinogram (mfPERG) and cone-isolating stimuli



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