We had previously found that M to L cone abundancy ratios in the chicken retina are correlated with vitreous chamber depth and refractive state in chickens eyes, when they have normal visual exposure but not when they develop deprivation myopia. The finding suggests an interaction between cone abundancies and emmetropization. In the current study, we analyzed how stable this correlation was against changes in environmental variables and strain differences. We found that the correlation was preserved in two chicken strains, as long as they were raised in the laboratory facilities and not in the animal facilities of the institute. To determine the reasons for this difference, spectral and temporal lighting parameters were better adjusted in both places, whereas temperature, humidity, food, diurnal lighting cycles and illuminance were already matched. It was also verified that both strains of chickens had the same cone opsin amino acid sequences. The correlation between M to L cone abundancy and ocular biometry is highly susceptible to changes in environmental variables. Yet undetermined differences in lighting parameters were the most likely reasons. Other striking findings were that green cone opsin mRNA expression was downregulated when deprivation myopia developed. Similarly, red opsin mRNA was downregulated when chicks wore red spectacles, which made them more hyperopic. In summary, our experiments show that photoreceptor abundancies, opsin expression, and the responses to deprivation, and therefore emmetropization, are surprisingly dependent on subtle differences in lighting parameters.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.