Stimulation of adrenergic β-receptors enhances mydriasis in a porcine eye model


Anders Behndig
Department of Clinical Sciences/Ophthalmology
Umeå University
SE-901 87 Umeå
Tel: + 46 90 785 37 31
Fax: + 46 90 13 34 99


Purpose:  To compare the mydriatic effect of intracamerally injected isoprenaline plus phenylephrine to phenylephrine alone and to epinephrine in a porcine eye model, aiming to eventually find the best combination of adrenergic substances for surgical mydriasis in humans.

Methods:  In this study, we used 89 intact eyes from newly slaughtered pigs, pretreated with 2.0 mg of intracameral acetylcholine. After waiting 60 seconds for miosis to develop, 0.15 ml 0.3% isoprenaline and 0.15 ml 3.0% phenylephrine were injected sequentially with a 90-second interval in 21 eyes. In another 22 eyes, the same substances were given in the reverse order. In 20 eyes, 0.15 ml of 0.025% epinephrine was injected, and as a negative control 0.15 ml of balanced salt solution was injected in 26 eyes. The pupils were filmed during the treatments, and the mean pupil diameters were measured every 15 seconds from the video recordings.

Results:  Phenylephrine injected after isoprenaline had a larger mydriatic effect than epinephrine (p < 0.01). Without isoprenaline pretreatment, the mydriatic effect of phenylephrine was significantly smaller than that of epinephrine (p < 0.05). Isoprenaline also exhibited a small mydriatic effect of its own.

Conclusions:  The β-receptor stimulator isoprenaline enhances the mydriatic effect of intracameral phenylephrine, indicating a role for the β-receptor in the mydriatic response. Mydriasis mediated by β-receptors may explain why nonspecific adrenergic stimulators such as epinine and epinephrine can have larger mydriatic effects than the specific α1-receptor stimulator phenylephrine.