Electroretinogram recording in larval zebrafish using a novel cone-shaped sponge-tip electrode

The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is commonly used as a vertebrate model in developmental studies and is particularly suitable for visual neuroscience. For functional measurements of visual performance, electroretinography (ERG) is an ideal non-invasive method, which has been well established in higher vertebrate species. This approach is increasingly being used for examining visual function in zebrafish, including during the early developmental larval stages. However, the most commonly used recording electrode for larval zebrafish ERG to date is the glassmicropipette electrode, which requires specialized equipment for its manufacture, presenting a challenge for laboratories with limited resources. Here, we present a larval zebrafish ERG protocol using a cone-shaped sponge-tip electrode. The novel electrode is easier to manufacture and handle, more economical, and less likely to damage the larval eye than the glass micropipette. Like previously published ERG methods, the current protocol can assess outer retinal function through photoreceptor and bipolar cell responses, the a- and b-wave, respectively. The protocol can clearly illustrate the refinement of visual function throughout the early development of zebrafish larvae, supporting the utility, sensitivity, andreliability of the novel electrode. The simplified electrode is particularly useful when establishing a new ERG system or modifying existing small-animal ERG apparatus for zebrafish measurement, aiding researchers in the visual neurosciences to use the zebrafish model organism.

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