PURPOSE. The neuromodulator dopamine (DA) has been implicated in the prevention of excessive ocular elongation and myopia in various animal models. This study used retinaspecific DA knockout mice to investigate the role of retinal DA in refractive development and susceptibility to experimental myopia. METHODS. Measurements of refractive error, corneal curvature, and ocular biometrics were obtained as a function of age for both untreated and form-deprived (FD) groups of retinaspecific tyrosine hydroxylase knockout (rTHKO) and control (Ctrl) mice. Retinas from each group were analyzed by HPLC for levels of DA and its primary metabolite (DOPAC). RESULTS. Under normal visual conditions, rTHKO mice showed significantly myopic refractions (F(1,188) = 7.602, P < 0.001) and steeper corneas (main effect of genotype F(1,180) = 5.1, P < 0.01) at 4 and 6 weeks of age compared with Ctrl mice. Retina-specific THKO mice also had thinner corneas (main effect of genotype F(1,181) = 37.17, P < 0.001), thinner retinas (F(6,181) = 6.07, P < 0.001), and shorter axial lengths (F(6,181) = 3.78, P < 0.01) than Ctrl mice. Retina-specific THKO retinas contained less than 15% of DA and DOPAC compared with Ctrl retinas, and the remaining DA had a significantly higher turnover, as indicated by DOPAC/DA ratios (Student’s t-test, P < 0.05). Retina-specific THKO mice showed similar, yet more variable, responses to 6 weeks of FD compared with Ctrl mice. CONCLUSIONS. Diminished retinal DA induced spontaneous myopia in mice raised under laboratory conditions without form deprivation. The relative myopic shift in rTHKO mice may be explained by steeper corneas, an unexpected finding. The chronic loss of DA did not significantly alter the FD myopia response in rTHKO mice.
- Refractive error