Effects of autonomic denervations on the rhythms in axial length and choroidal thickness in chicks

  • Debora L. Nickla
  • Falk Schroedl
Original Paper


In chicks, axial length and choroidal thickness undergo circadian oscillations. The choroid is innervated by both branches of the autonomic nervous system, but their contribution(s) to these rhythms is unknown. We used two combination lesions to test this. For parasympathectomy, nerve VII was sectioned presynaptic to the pterygopalatine ganglia, and the ciliary post-ganglionics were cut (double lesion; n = 8). Triple lesions excised the sympathetic superior cervical ganglion as well (n = 8). Sham surgery was done in controls (n = 7). 8–14 days later, axial dimensions were measured with ultrasonography at 4-h intervals over 24 h. Rhythm parameters were assessed using a “best fit” function, and growth rates measured. Both types of lesions resulted in ultradian (> 1 cycle/24 h) rhythms in choroidal thickness and axial length, and increased vitreous chamber growth (Exp-fellow: double: 69 µm; triple: 104 µm; p < 0.05). For double lesions, the frequency was 1.5 cycles/day for both rhythms; for triples the choroidal rhythm was 1.5 cycles/day, and the axial was 3 cycles/day. For double lesions, the amplitudes of both rhythms were larger than those of sham surgery controls (axial: 107 vs 54 µm; choroid: 124 vs 29 µm, p < 0.05). These findings provide evidence for the involvement of abnormal ocular rhythms in the growth stimulation underlying myopia development.


Ciliary ganglion Pterygopalatine Superior cervical ganglion Ultradian Myopia 



Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology


Ciliary ganglion


Ciliary ganglion lesion


Cranial nerve VII


Pterygopalatine ganglia


Pterygopalatine ganglion pre-synaptic (NVII) lesion


Retinal pigment epithelium



This work was funded by the National Eye Institute NIH-NEI-013636 and NIH-NEI-025307. The authors thank Kristen Totonelly and Jonathan Elin-Calcador for collecting some of the data. Care and use of animals conformed to the ARVO Resolution for the Care and Use of Animals in Research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The New England College of OptometryBostonUSA
  2. 2.Paracelsus Medical UniversitySalzburgAustria

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