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Mathieu Gauvin, John M. Little, Jean-Marc Lina, Pierre Lachapelle; Functional decomposition of the human ERG based on the discrete wavelet transform. Journal of Vision 2015;15(16):14. doi: 10.1167/15.16.14.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
The morphology of the electroretinogram (ERG) can be altered as a result of normal and pathological processes of the retina. However, given that the ERG is almost solely assessed in terms of its amplitude and timing, defining the shape of the ERG waveform so that subtle, physiologically driven, morphological changes can be systematically and reproducibly detected remains a challenging problem. We examined if the discrete wavelet transform (DWT) could meet this challenge. Normal human photopic ERGs evoked to a broad range of luminance intensities (to yield waveforms of various shapes, amplitudes, and timings) were analyzed using DWT descriptors of the ERG. Luminance-response curves that were generated using the various DWT descriptors revealed distinct (p < 0.05) luminance-dependence patterns, indicating that the stimulus luminance differently modulates the various time-frequency components of the ERG and thus its morphology. The latter represents the first attempt to study the luminance-dependence of ERG descriptors obtained with the DWT. Analyses of ERGs obtained from patients affected with ON or OFF retinal pathway anomalies were also presented. We show here for the first time that distinct time-frequency descriptors can be specifically associated to the function of the ON and OFF cone pathway. Therefore, in this study, the DWT revealed reproducible, physiologically meaningful and diagnostically relevant descriptors of the ERG over a wide range of signal amplitudes and morphologies. The DWT analysis thus represents a valuable addition to the electrophysiologist's armamentarium that will improve the quantification and interpretation of normal and pathological ERG responses.
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