Documenta Ophthalmologica

, Volume 120, Issue 2, pp 145–158 | Cite as

Spatial distributions of on- and off-responses determined with the multifocal ERG

  • Anderson R. Rodrigues
  • Manoel da Silva Filho
  • Luiz Carlos L. Silveira
  • Jan Kremers
Original research article


We studied the contribution of retinal on- and off-mechanisms in the multifocal electroretinogram (mfERG) by measuring responses to sawtooth stimuli. Six healthy subjects participated in this study. Rapid-on and rapid-off sawtooth stimuli with a period of 427 ms were presented in a multifocal pattern composed of 19 hexagons. The stimuli were interleaved with a blank field of the mean luminance and chromaticity. On- and off-responses were added to extract response asymmetries. The amplitudes of on-, off-, and added-responses were determined for different eccentricities relative to a signal baseline that was defined as the average of the electrical level recorded in two different time windows in which no responses were present. Measurements were repeated with eight different stimulus stretch factors to account for changes in retinal cell density as a function of eccentricity. The amplitudes of all ERG components decreased with increasing eccentricity for all stretch factors. For stretch factors between 0 and 20, responses to the central and immediately adjacent hexagons were large in amplitude. For more peripheral hexagons, the responses were very small or absent. Three components were identified in the on-responses (N20on, P46on and N100on). In the off-responses, we found one positive (P20off) and one negative (N90off) component, whereas in the addition, three components (N20add, P46add and N100add) could be observed. The N20on and P46on amplitudes decreased less steeply with eccentricity than the N100on amplitude, whilst the P20off and N90off amplitudes exhibited a similar decrease with eccentricity. In the addition, the two negative components exhibited a similar decrease in amplitude as a function of eccentricity and decreased more steeply than the positive component. The number of stimulated cones and retinal ganglion cells was estimated from anatomical data and compared with the responses. The spatial properties of the amplitudes of N20on, P46on, P20off, and N90off and P46add were similar to those of the stimulated cone numbers. The remaining components had spatial characteristics that resembled those of the retinal ganglion cells. It is proposed that the ERG asymmetries revealed in the summed responses have post-receptoral origins, some of them reflecting the activity of the ganglion cell population. The use of sawtooth stimuli provide, similar to the pattern ERG, a way to record the ERG asymmetries.


Multifocal ERG On- and off-mechanisms Retinal eccentricity Retinal pathways 



The work was supported by German Research Council (DFG) grant KR 1317/9-1. ARR received a CAPES-PROF and a CAPES/DAAD-PROBRAL fellowship for graduate students. MSF and LCLS are CNPq research fellows. JK is Fellow in the Excellence Program of the Hertie Foundation. The authors are members of the FINEP research network “Rede Instituto Brasileiro de Neurociência (IBN-Net)” #01.06.0842-00. We thank Paul DeMarco for his comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anderson R. Rodrigues
    • 1
    • 2
  • Manoel da Silva Filho
    • 2
  • Luiz Carlos L. Silveira
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jan Kremers
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OphthalmologyUniversity Hospital ErlangenErlangenGermany
  2. 2.Instituto de Ciências BiológicasUniversidade Federal do ParáBelém, ParáBrazil
  3. 3.Núcleo de Medicina TropicalUniversidade Federal do ParáBelém, ParáBrazil

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