Effects of a constant light environment on hippocampal neurogenesis and memory in mice.
ABSTRACT Because the environmental light-dark cycle is a key factor involved in modulating circadian rhythm in mammals, disruption of cyclic light conditions has a variety of effects on physiology and behavior. In the hippocampus, neurogenesis, which continues to occur throughout life, has been reported to exhibit circadian variation under cyclic light-dark conditions. In the present study, we examined whether a constant light environment affected hippocampal neurogenesis in mice. Half of the animals were exposed to continuous light conditions (L/L group), while the other half remained under normal cyclic light-dark conditions (L/D group). In the L/L group, the number of BrdU-labeled cells (proliferating cells) and that of BrdU and class III β-tubulin double-labeled cells (newborn neurons) in the granule cell layer were significantly decreased compared with the L/D group. Because hippocampal neurogenesis is involved in memory and learning, we also investigated the effects on performance in water maze tasks to assess spatial learning. Exposure to L/L treatment for 3 weeks impaired spatial learning task performance, although there was no difference in the open field behaviors between the groups. These findings demonstrate that the constant light conditions impaired hippocampal neurogenesis as well as cognitive performance, and suggest an important role for the cyclic light-dark environment in appropriate maintenance of the hippocampal system.
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ABSTRACT: Humans and other organisms have adapted to a consistent and predictable 24-h solar cycle, but over the past ∼130 years the widespread adoption of electric light has transformed our environment. Instead of aligning behavioral and physiological processes to the natural solar cycle, individuals respond to artificial light cycles created by social and work schedules. Urban light pollution, night shift work, transmeridian travel, televisions and computers have dramatically altered the timing of light used to entrain biological rhythms. In humans and other mammals, light is detected by the retina and intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells project this information both to the circadian system and limbic brain regions. Therefore, it is possible that exposure to light at night, which has become pervasive, may disrupt both circadian timing and mood. Notably, the rate of major depression has increased in recent decades, in parallel with increasing exposure to light at night. Strong evidence already links circadian disruption to major depression and other mood disorders. Emerging evidence from the past few years suggests that exposure to light at night also negatively influences mood. In this review, we discuss evidence from recent human and rodent studies supporting the novel hypothesis that nighttime exposure to light disrupts circadian organization and contributes to depressed mood.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 28 May 2013; doi:10.1038/mp.2013.70.Molecular Psychiatry 05/2013; · 15.15 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Light has profoundly influenced the evolution of life on earth. As widely appreciated, light enables us to generate images of our environment. However, light - through intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) - also influences behaviours that are essential for our health and quality of life but are independent of image formation. These include the synchronization of the circadian clock to the solar day, tracking of seasonal changes and the regulation of sleep. Irregular light environments lead to problems in circadian rhythms and sleep, which eventually cause mood and learning deficits. Recently, it was found that irregular light can also directly affect mood and learning without producing major disruptions in circadian rhythms and sleep. In this Review, we discuss the indirect and direct influence of light on mood and learning, and provide a model for how light, the circadian clock and sleep interact to influence mood and cognitive functions.Nature Reviews Neuroscience 06/2014; 15(7):443-54. · 31.38 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The hippocampus is a brain region of primary importance for neurogenesis, which occurs during early developmental states as well as during adulthood. Increases in neuronal proliferation and in neuronal death with age have been associated with drastic changes in memory and learning. Numerous neurotransmitters are involved in these processes, and some neuropeptides that mediate neurogenesis also modulate feeding behavior. Concomitantly, feeding peptides, which act primarily in the hypothalamus, are also present in the hippocampus. This review aims to ascertain the role of several important feeding peptides in cognitive functions, either through their local synthesis in the hippocampus or through their actions via specific receptors in the hippocampus. A link between neurogenesis and the orexigenic or anorexigenic properties of feeding peptides is discussed.Nutrition Reviews 08/2013; 71(8):541-61. · 4.60 Impact Factor