Light induces c-fos and per1 expression in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of arrhythmic hamsters.

TitleLight induces c-fos and per1 expression in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of arrhythmic hamsters.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
JournalAmerican journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology

Locomotor activity rhythms in a significant proportion of Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus sungorus) become arrhythmic after the light-dark (LD) cycle is phase-delayed by 5 h. Arrhythmia is apparent within a few days and persists indefinitely despite the presence of the photocycle. The failure of arrhythmic hamsters to regain rhythms while housed in the LD cycle, as well as the lack of any masking of activity, suggested that the circadian system of these animals had become insensitive to light. We tested this hypothesis by examining light-induced gene expression in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Several weeks after the phase delay, arrhythmic and re-entrained hamsters were housed in constant darkness (DD) for 24 h and administered a 30-min light pulse 2 h after predicted dark onset because light induces c-fos and per1 genes at this time in entrained animals. Brains were then removed, and tissue sections containing the SCN were processed for in situ hybridization and probed with c-fos and per1 mRNA probes made from Siberian hamster cDNA. Contrary to our prediction, light pulses induced robust expression of both c-fos and per1 in all re-entrained and arrhythmic hamsters. A separate group of animals held in DD for 10 days after the light pulse remained arrhythmic. Thus, even though the SCN of these animals responded to light, neither the LD cycle nor DD restored rhythms, as it does in other species made arrhythmic by constant light (LL). These results suggest that different mechanisms underlie arrhythmicity induced by LL or by a phase delay of the LD cycle. Whereas LL induces arrhythmicity by desynchronizing SCN neurons, phase delay-induced arrhythmicity may be due to a loss of circadian rhythms at the level of individual SCN neurons.

Short TitleAm J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol
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