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Keywords:

  • pupil;
  • pretectum;
  • retina;
  • albino;
  • reflex

Abstract

The consensual pupilloconstrictor response requires the intensity information that is delivered to each eye to be integrated to produce an averaged response such that the pupillary diameter in each eye is equal. Here we have examined how luminance information from each eye is integrated in the rat and where the integration occurs, using a pupillometry system to record pupillary diameter after illumination of one or both eyes. In albino rats the size of the uncrossed optic pathway to the pupilloconstrictor centre, the olivary pretectal nucleus, is reduced three-fold and there is a concomitant but less dramatic reduction in the size of the consensual response. Unilateral lesions of the olivary pretectal nucleus in pigmented rats restrict all optic input to the opposite pretectum. Stimulation of one or both eyes in these animals suggests that integration occurs not only at the level of the olivary pretectal nucleus, but also downstream in the Edinger-Westphal nucleus. Parallels with human studies and the opportunity to perform secondary lesions suggests the rat may provide a good model in which to study the substrates of the pupilloconstrictor response and mechanisms of integration of convergent parallel inputs in general.