Effects of light, food, and methamphetamine on the circadian activity rhythm in mice
ABSTRACT The circadian rhythm of locomotor activity in mice is synchronized to environmental factors such as light and food availability. It is well-known that entrainment of the activity rhythm to the light–dark cycle is attained by the circadian pacemaker in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Locomotor activity is also controlled by two extra-SCN oscillators; periodic food availability entrains the food-entrainable oscillator (FEO) and constant consumption of low-dose methamphetamine reveals the output of the methamphetamine-sensitive circadian oscillator (MASCO). In this study, we sought to investigate the relationship between the SCN, FEO, and MASCO by examining the combinatorial effects of light, food restriction, and/or methamphetamine on locomotor activity. To investigate coupling between the SCN and FEO, we tested whether food anticipatory activity, which is the output of the FEO, shifted coordinately with phase shifts of the light–dark cycle. We found that the phase of food anticipatory activity was phase-delayed or phase-advanced symmetrically with the respective shift of the light–dark cycle, suggesting that the FEO is strongly coupled to the SCN and the phase angle between the SCN and FEO is maintained during ad libitum feeding. To examine the effect of methamphetamine on the output of the FEO, we administered methamphetamine to mice undergoing restricted feeding and found that food-entrained activity was delayed by methamphetamine treatment. In addition, restricted feeding induced dissociation of the MASCO and SCN activity rhythms during short-term methamphetamine treatment, when these rhythms are typically integrated. In conclusion, our data suggest that the outputs of the SCN, FEO and MASCO collectively drive locomotor activity.
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ABSTRACT: Food availability is a potent environmental cue that directs circadian locomotor activity in rodents. Even though nocturnal rodents prefer to forage at night, daytime food anticipatory activity (FAA) is observed prior to short meals presented at a scheduled time of day. Under this restricted feeding regimen, rodents exhibit two distinct bouts of activity, a nocturnal activity rhythm that is entrained to the light-dark cycle and controlled by the master clock in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) and a daytime bout of activity that is phase-locked to mealtime. FAA also occurs during food deprivation, suggesting that a food-entrainable oscillator (FEO) keeps time in the absence of scheduled feeding. Previous studies have demonstrated that the FEO is anatomically distinct from the SCN and that FAA is observed in mice lacking some circadian genes essential for timekeeping in the SCN. In the current study, we optimized the conditions for examining FAA during restricted feeding and food deprivation in mice lacking functional BMAL1, which is critical for circadian rhythm generation in the SCN. We found that BMAL1-deficient mice displayed FAA during restricted feeding in 12hr light:12hr dark (12L:12D) and 18L:6D lighting cycles, but distinct activity during food deprivation was observed only in 18L:6D. While BMAL1-deficient mice also exhibited robust FAA during restricted feeding in constant darkness, mice were hyperactive during food deprivation so it was not clear that FAA consistently occurred at the time of previously scheduled food availability. Taken together, our findings suggest that optimization of experimental conditions such as photoperiod may be necessary to visualize FAA in genetically modified mice. Furthermore, the expression of FAA may be possible without a circadian oscillator that depends on BMAL1.PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(3):e4860. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In mammals, a pacemaker in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is thought to be required for behavioral, physiological, and molecular circadian rhythms. However, there is considerable evidence that temporal food restriction (restricted feedisng [RF]) and chronic methamphetamine (MA) can drive circadian rhythms of locomotor activity, body temperature, and endocrine function in the absence of SCN. This indicates the existence of extra-SCN pacemakers: the Food Entrainable Oscillator (FEO) and Methamphetamine Sensitive Circadian Oscillator (MASCO). Here, we show that these extra-SCN pacemakers control the phases of peripheral oscillators in intact as well as in SCN-ablated PER2::LUC mice. MA administration shifted the phases of SCN, cornea, pineal, pituitary, kidney, and salivary glands in intact animals. When the SCN was ablated, disrupted phase relationships among peripheral oscillators were reinstated by MA treatment. When intact animals were subjected to restricted feeding, the phases of cornea, pineal, kidney, salivary gland, lung, and liver were shifted. In SCN-lesioned restricted-fed mice, phases of all of the tissues shifted such that they aligned with the time of the meal. Taken together, these data show that FEO and MASCO are strong circadian pacemakers able to regulate the phases of peripheral oscillators.Journal of Biological Rhythms 12/2010; 25(6):432-41. · 3.32 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A unique extra-suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) oscillator, operating independently of the light-entrainable oscillator, has been hypothesized to generate feeding and drug-related rhythms. To test the validity of this hypothesis, sham-lesioned (Sham) and SCN-lesioned (SCNx) rats were housed in constant dim-red illumination (LL(red)) and received a daily cocaine injection every 24 h for 7 d (Experiment 1). In a second experiment, rats underwent 3-h daily restricted feeding (RF) followed 12 d later by the addition of daily cocaine injections given every 25 h in combination with RF until the two schedules were in antiphase. In both experiments, body temperature and total activity were monitored continuously. Results from Experiment 1 revealed that cocaine, but not saline, injections produced anticipatory increases in temperature and activity in SCNx and Sham rats. Following withdrawal from cocaine, free-running temperature rhythms persisted for 2-10 d in SCNx rats. In Experiment 2, robust anticipatory increases in temperature and activity were associated with RF and cocaine injections; however, the feeding periodicity (23.9 h) predominated over the cocaine periodicity. During drug withdrawal, the authors observed two free-running rhythms of temperature and activity that persisted for >14 d in both Sham and SCNx rats. The periods of the free-running rhythms were similar to the feeding entrainment (period = 23.7 and 24.0 h, respectively) and drug entrainment (period = 25.7 and 26.1 h, respectively). Also during withdrawal, the normally close correlation between activity and temperature was greatly disrupted in Sham and SCNx rats. Taken together, these results do not support the existence of a single oscillator mediating the rewarding properties of both food and cocaine. Rather, they suggest that these two highly rewarding behaviors can be temporally isolated, especially during drug withdrawal. Under stable dual-entrainment conditions, food reward appears to exhibit a slightly greater circadian influence than drug reward. The ability to generate free-running temperature rhythms of different frequencies following combined food and drug exposures could reflect a state of internal desynchrony that may contribute to the addiction process and drug relapse.Chronobiology International 04/2012; 29(4):454-68. · 4.35 Impact Factor