Oscar Castanon-Cervantes

Rowe Neuroscience Institute, Lenexa, Kansas, United States

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Publications (18)81.47 Total impact

  • Jennifer A Evans · Tanya L Leise · Oscar Castanon-Cervantes · Alec J Davidson ·
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    ABSTRACT: Daily rhythms in mammals are controlled by the circadian system, which is a collection of biological clocks regulated by a central pacemaker within the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the anterior hypothalamus. Changes in SCN function have pronounced consequences for behaviour and physiology; however, few studies have examined whether individual differences in circadian behaviour reflect changes in SCN function. Here, PERIOD2::LUCIFERASE mice were exposed to a behavioural assay to characterize individual differences in baseline entrainment, rate of re-entrainment and free-running rhythms. SCN slices were then collected for ex vivo bioluminescence imaging to gain insight into how the properties of the SCN clock influence individual differences in behavioural rhythms. First, individual differences in the timing of locomotor activity rhythms were positively correlated with the timing of SCN rhythms. Second, slower adjustment during simulated jetlag was associated with a larger degree of phase heterogeneity among SCN neurons. Collectively, these findings highlight the role of the SCN network in determining individual differences in circadian behaviour. Furthermore, these results reveal novel ways that the network organization of the SCN influences plasticity at the behavioural level, and lend insight into potential interventions designed to modulate the rate of resynchronization during transmeridian travel and shift work. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 07/2015; 282(1810). DOI:10.1098/rspb.2015.0769 · 5.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Daily rhythms in mammals are programmed by a master clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). The SCN contains two main compartments (i.e., shell and core), but the role of each region in system-level coordination remains ill defined. Here we use a functional assay to investigate how downstream tissues interpret region-specific outputs by using in vivo exposure to long day photoperiods to temporally dissociate the SCN. We then analyze resulting changes in the rhythms of clocks located throughout the brain and body to examine whether they maintain phase synchrony with the SCN shell or core. Nearly all of the 17 tissues examined in the brain and body maintain phase synchrony with the SCN shell, but not the SCN core, which indicates that downstream oscillators are set by cues controlled specifically by the SCN shell. Interestingly, we also found that SCN dissociation diminished the amplitude of rhythms in core clock gene and protein expression in brain tissues by 50-75 %, which suggests that light-driven changes in the functional organization of the SCN markedly influence the strength of rhythms in downstream tissues. Overall, our results reveal that body clocks receive time-of-day cues specifically from the SCN shell, which may be an adaptive design principle that serves to maintain system-level phase relationships in a changing environment. Further, we demonstrate that lighting conditions alter the amplitude of the molecular clock in downstream tissues, which uncovers a new form of plasticity that may contribute to seasonal changes in physiology and behavior.
    BMC Biology 06/2015; 13(1):43. DOI:10.1186/s12915-015-0157-x · 7.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Various aspects of immune response exhibit 24-h variations suggesting that infection susceptibility and treatment efficacy may vary by time of day. Whether these 24-h variations are endogenous or evoked by changes in environmental or behavioral conditions is not known. We assessed the endogenous circadian control and environmental and behavioral influences on ex-vivo lipopolysaccharide stimulation of whole blood in thirteen healthy participants under 48 h of baseline conditions with standard sleep-wake schedules and 40–50 h of constant environmental and behavioral (constant routine; CR) conditions. Significant 24-h rhythms were observed under baseline conditions in Monocyte Chemotactic Protein, Granulocyte–Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor and Interleukin 8 but not Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha whereas significant 24-h rhythms were observed in all four immune factors under CR conditions. The rhythm amplitudes, expressed as a percentage of mean, were comparable between immune factors and across conditions. In contrast, the acrophase time (time of the fitted peak) was different between immune factors, and included daytime and nighttime peaks and changes across behavioral conditions. These results suggest that the endogenous circadian system underpins the temporal organization of immune responses in humans with additional effects of external environmental and behavioral cycles. These findings have implications for understanding the adverse effects of recurrent circadian disruption and sleep curtailment on immune function.
    Brain Behavior and Immunity 11/2014; 47. DOI:10.1016/j.bbi.2014.11.003 · 5.89 Impact Factor
  • Jennifer A Evans · Tanya L Leise · Oscar Castanon-Cervantes · Alec J Davidson ·
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    ABSTRACT: Interactions among suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) neurons are required for robust circadian rhythms entrained to local time. To investigate these signaling mechanisms, we developed a functional coupling assay that uniquely captures the dynamic process by which SCN neurons interact. As a population, SCN neurons typically display synchronized rhythms with similar peak times, but will peak 6-12 hr apart after in vivo exposure to long days. Once they are removed from these conditions, SCN neurons resynchronize through a phase-dependent coupling process mediated by both vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) and GABAA signaling. Notably, GABAA signaling contributes to coupling when the SCN network is in an antiphase configuration, but opposes synchrony under steady-state conditions. Further, VIP acts together with GABAA signaling to couple the network in an antiphase configuration, but promotes synchrony under steady-state conditions by counteracting the actions of GABAA signaling. Thus, SCN neurons interact through nonredundant coupling mechanisms influenced by the state of the network.
    Neuron 11/2013; 80(4):973-983. DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2013.08.022 · 15.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The immune and the circadian systems interact in a bidirectional fashion. The master circadian oscillator, located in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) of the hypothalamus, responds to peripheral and local immune stimuli, such as proinflammatory cytokines and bacterial endotoxin. Astrocytes exert several immune functions in the CNS, and there is growing evidence that points toward a role of these cells in the regulation of circadian rhythms. The aim of this work was to assess the response of SCN astrocytes to immune stimuli, particularly to the proinflammatory cytokine TNF-α. TNF-α applied to cultures of SCN astrocytes from Per2(luc) knockin mice altered both the phase and amplitude of PER2 expression rhythms, in a phase-dependent manner. Furthermore, conditioned media from SCN astrocyte cultures transiently challenged with TNF-α induced an increase in Per1 expression in NIH 3T3 cells, which was blocked by TNF-α antagonism. In addition, these conditioned media could induce phase shifts in SCN PER2 rhythms and, when administered intracerebroventricularly, induced phase delays in behavioral circadian rhythms and SCN activation in control mice, but not in TNFR-1 mutants. In summary, our results show that TNF-α modulates the molecular clock of SCN astrocytes in vitro, and also that, in response to this molecule, SCN astrocytes can modulate clock gene expression in other cells and tissues, and induce phase shifts in a circadian behavioral output in vivo. These findings suggest a role for astroglial cells in the alteration of circadian timing by immune activation.
    The Journal of Immunology 09/2013; 191(9). DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.1300450 · 4.92 Impact Factor
  • Kandis L Adams · Oscar Castanon-Cervantes · Jennifer A Evans · Alec J Davidson ·
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    ABSTRACT: The immune system is regulated by circadian clocks within the brain and immune cells. Environmental circadian disruption (ECD), consisting of a 6-h phase advance of the light:dark cycle once a week for 4 weeks, elevates the inflammatory response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) both in vivo and in vitro. This indicates that circadian disruption adversely affects immune function; however, it remains unclear how the circadian system regulates this response under ECD conditions. Here, we develop an assay using ex vivo whole-blood LPS challenge to investigate the circadian regulation of immune responses in mice and to determine the effects of ECD on these rhythms. LPS-induced IL-6 release in whole blood was regulated in a circadian manner, peaking during subjective day under both entrained and free-running conditions. This LPS-induced IL-6 release rhythm was associated with daily variation in both white blood cell counts and immune cell responsiveness. ECD increased the overall level of LPS-induced IL-6 release by increasing immune cell responsiveness and not by affecting immune cell number or the circadian regulation of this rhythm. This indicates that ECD produces pathological immune responses by increasing the proinflammatory responses of immune cells. Also, this newly developed whole blood assay can provide a noninvasive longitudinal method to quantify potential health consequences of circadian disruption in humans.
    Journal of Biological Rhythms 08/2013; 28(4):272-7. DOI:10.1177/0748730413494561 · 2.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Shift work and trans-time zone travel lead to insufficient sleep and numerous pathologies. Here, we examined sleep/wake dynamics during chronic exposure to environmental circadian disruption (ECD), and if chronic partial sleep loss associated with ECD influences the induction of shift-related inflammatory disorder. Sleep and wakefulness were telemetrically recorded across three months of ECD, in which the dark-phase of a light-dark cycle was advanced weekly by 6 h. A three month regimen of ECD caused a temporary reorganization of sleep (NREM and REM) and wake processes across each week, resulting in an approximately 10% net loss of sleep each week relative to baseline levels. A separate group of mice were subjected to ECD or a regimen of imposed wakefulness (IW) aimed to mimic sleep amounts under ECD for one month. Fos-immunoreactivity (IR) was quantified in sleep-wake regulatory areas: the nucleus accumbens (NAc), basal forebrain (BF), and medial preoptic area (MnPO). To assess the inflammatory response, trunk blood was treated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and subsequent release of IL-6 was measured. Fos-IR was greatest in the NAc, BF, and MnPO of mice subjected to IW. The inflammatory response to LPS was elevated in mice subjected to ECD, but not mice subjected to IW. Thus, the net sleep loss that occurs under ECD is not associated with a pathological immune response.
    PLoS ONE 05/2013; 8(5):e63752. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0063752 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aging produces a decline in the amplitude and precision of 24 h behavioral, endocrine, and metabolic rhythms, which are regulated in mammals by a central circadian pacemaker within the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) and local oscillators in peripheral tissues. Disruption of the circadian system, as experienced during transmeridian travel, can lead to adverse health consequences, particularly in the elderly. To test the hypothesis that age-related changes in the response to simulated jet lag will reflect altered circadian function, we examined re-entrainment of central and peripheral oscillators from young and old PER2::luciferase mice. As in previous studies, locomotor activity rhythms in older mice required more days to re-entrain following a shift than younger mice. At the tissue level, effects of age on baseline entrainment were evident, with older mice displaying earlier phases for the majority of peripheral oscillators studied and later phases for cells within most SCN subregions. Following a 6 h advance of the light:dark cycle, old mice displayed slower rates of re-entrainment for peripheral tissues but a larger, more rapid SCN response compared to younger mice. Thus, aging alters the circadian timing system in a manner that differentially affects the re-entrainment responses of central and peripheral circadian clocks. This pattern of results suggests that a major consequence of aging is a decrease in pacemaker amplitude, which would slow re-entrainment of peripheral oscillators and reduce SCN resistance to external perturbation.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 11/2012; 32(46):16193-16202. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3559-12.2012 · 6.34 Impact Factor
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    Jennifer A Evans · Tanya L Leise · Oscar Castanon-Cervantes · Alec J Davidson ·
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    ABSTRACT: The mammalian pacemaker in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) contains a population of neural oscillators capable of sustaining cell-autonomous rhythms in gene expression and electrical firing. A critical question for understanding pacemaker function is how SCN oscillators are organized into a coherent tissue capable of coordinating circadian rhythms in behavior and physiology. Here we undertake a comprehensive analysis of oscillatory function across the SCN of the adult PER2::LUC mouse by developing a novel approach involving multi-position bioluminescence imaging and unbiased computational analyses. We demonstrate that there is phase heterogeneity across all three dimensions of the SCN that is intrinsically regulated and extrinsically modulated by light in a region-specific manner. By investigating the mechanistic bases of SCN phase heterogeneity, we show for the first time that phase differences are not systematically related to regional differences in period, waveform, amplitude, or brightness. Furthermore, phase differences are not related to regional differences in the expression of arginine vasopressin and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, two key neuropeptides characterizing functionally distinct subdivisions of the SCN. The consistency of SCN spatiotemporal organization across individuals and across planes of section suggests that the precise phasing of oscillators is a robust feature of the pacemaker important for its function.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(1):e15869. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0015869 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Circadian rhythms modulate nearly every mammalian physiological process. Chronic disruption of circadian timing in shift work or during chronic jet lag in animal models leads to a higher risk of several pathologies. Many of these conditions in both shift workers and experimental models share the common risk factor of inflammation. In this study, we show that experimentally induced circadian disruption altered innate immune responses. Endotoxemic shock induced by LPS was magnified, leading to hypothermia and death after four consecutive weekly 6-h phase advances of the light/dark schedule, with 89% mortality compared with 21% in unshifted control mice. This may be due to a heightened release of proinflammatory cytokines in response to LPS treatment in shifted animals. Isolated peritoneal macrophages harvested from shifted mice exhibited a similarly heightened response to LPS in vitro, indicating that these cells are a target for jet lag. Sleep deprivation and stress are known to alter immune function and are potential mediators of the effects we describe. However, polysomnographic recording in mice exposed to the shifting schedule revealed no sleep loss, and stress measures were not altered in shifted mice. In contrast, we observed altered or abolished rhythms in the expression of clock genes in the central clock, liver, thymus, and peritoneal macrophages in mice after chronic jet lag. We conclude that circadian disruption, but not sleep loss or stress, are associated with jet lag-related dysregulation of the innate immune system. Such immune changes might be a common mechanism for the myriad negative health effects of shift work.
    The Journal of Immunology 10/2010; 185(10):5796-805. DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.1001026 · 4.92 Impact Factor
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    María Luisa Fanjul-Moles · Oscar Castañón-Cervantes · Julio Prieto-Sagredo ·
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    ABSTRACT: This study was carried out to investigate the non-parametric effect of white light on the activity rhythm of the postembryonic stages of crayfish and to elucidate the characteristics and development of its entrainment mechanisms. Forty-five postembryonical instars of crayfish Procambarus clarkii, separated into three groups according to age and moult, were investigated. They were individually monitored with a motor activity recording system in constant photic conditions. For the three groups of animals, three trials with different skeleton photoperiod (SP) imitating LD 8:16, LD 12:12 and LD 20:4 were conducted, each followed by exposure to a period of constant darkness (DD). The locomotor activity rhythm and its entrainment ability were evaluated. All ages showed a circadian rhythm with a capability to synchronize to the different SP increasing with age. The three groups of crayfish analysed were generally synchronized by the dusk pulse, clustering the onset of activity close to the light pulses considered as dusk. The results presented in this study suggest the involvement of extraretinal pathways in the non-parametric entrainment of crayfish.
    Biological Rhythm Research 08/2010; 29(4):427-441. DOI:10.1076/brhm.29.4.427.1426 · 0.92 Impact Factor
  • Alec J Davidson · Oscar Castanon-Cervantes · Tanya L Leise · Penny C Molyneux · Mary E Harrington ·
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    ABSTRACT: Circadian rhythms regulate most physiological processes. Adjustments to circadian time, called phase shifts, are necessary following international travel and on a more frequent basis for individuals who work non-traditional schedules such as rotating shifts. As the disruption that results from frequent phase shifts is deleterious to both animals and humans, we sought to better understand the kinetics of resynchronization of the mouse circadian system to one of the most disruptive phase shifts, a 6-h phase advance. Mice bearing a luciferase reporter gene for mPer2 were subjected to a 6-h advance of the light cycle and molecular rhythms in suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), thymus, spleen, lung and esophagus were measured periodically for 2 weeks following the shift. For the SCN, the master pacemaker in the brain, we employed high-resolution imaging of the brain slice to describe the resynchronization of rhythms in single SCN neurons during adjustment to the new light cycle. We observed significant differences in shifting kinetics among mice, among organs such as the spleen and lung, and importantly among neurons in the SCN. The phase distribution among all Period2-expressing SCN neurons widened on the day following a shift of the light cycle, which was partially due to cells in the ventral SCN exhibiting a larger initial phase shift than cells in the dorsal SCN. There was no clear delineation of ventral and dorsal regions, however, as the SCN appear to have a population of fast-shifting cells whose anatomical distribution is organized in a ventral-dorsal gradient. Full resynchronization of the SCN and peripheral timing system, as measured by a circadian reporter gene, did not occur until after 8 days in the advanced light cycle.
    European Journal of Neuroscience 12/2008; 29(1):171-80. DOI:10.1111/j.1460-9568.2008.06534.x · 3.18 Impact Factor
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    Kazumi Nomura · Oscar Castanon-Cervantes · Alec Davidson · Chiaki Fukuhara ·
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    ABSTRACT: Alterations in circadian rhythm generation may be related to the development of mood disorders. Although it has been reported that the most popular antidepressant, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) affect circadian phase, no data are available that describe the effects of SSRIs on other circadian parameters (period, amplitude and damping rate) in dissociated cells. In the present study we used real-time monitoring of bioluminescence in rat-1 fibroblasts expressing the Period1-luciferase transgene, and that in Period1-luciferase transgenic mouse suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) explants, in order to characterize the effects of SSRI on circadian oscillator function in vitro. We found that mRNA of the serotonin transporter (SERT), a target of SSRIs, was expressed in rat-1 fibroblasts. Sertraline, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, citalopram and paroxetine all significantly shortened the period of Period1-bioluminescence rhythms in rat-1 fibroblasts. The amplitude was reduced by sertraline, and the damping rate was decreased by sertraline, fluoxetine, flvoxamine and paroxetine. The effect of sertraline was dose-dependent, and it also shortened the circadian period in the SCN. SERT is associated with lipid microdomains, which are required for efficient SERT activity. Indeed, cholesterol chelating reagent methyl-beta-cyclodextrin significantly reduced the period and the amplitude in rat-1 fibroblasts. Furthermore, lipid binding reagent xylazine significantly reduced the period. In summary our data present evidence that SSRIs affect circadian rhythmicity. The action of SSRIs is likely mediated by suppression of SERT activity. A better understanding of the relationship between mental illness and biological timing may yield new insight into disease etiology and avenues for treatment.
    Life Sciences 07/2008; 82(23-24):1169-74. DOI:10.1016/j.lfs.2008.03.024 · 2.70 Impact Factor
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    Gianluca Tosini · Alec J Davidson · Chiaki Fukuhara · Manami Kasamatsu · Oscar Castanon-Cervantes ·
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    ABSTRACT: Several studies have demonstrated that the mammalian retina contains an autonomous circadian clock. Dopaminergic and other inner retinal neurons express many of the clock genes, whereas some of these genes seem to be absent from the photoreceptors. This observation has led to the suggestion that in mammalian retina the circadian pacemaker driving retinal rhythms is located in the inner nuclear layer. However, other evidence points to the photoreceptor layer as the site of the mammalian retinal clock. The goal of the present study was to demonstrate the presence of a functional circadian clock in photoreceptors. First, using laser capture microdissection and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, we investigated which of the clock genes are expressed in rat photoreceptors. We then prepared photoreceptor layer cultures from the retina to test whether these isolated cultures were viable and could drive circadian rhythms. Our data indicated that Per1, Per3, Cry1, Cry2, Clock, Bmal1, Rev-erb alpha, and Rora RNAs were present in the photoreceptors, whereas we were unable to amplify mRNA for Per2 and Npas2. Photoreceptor layers obtained from Period1-luciferase rats expressed a robust circadian rhythm in bioluminescence and melatonin synthesis. These results demonstrate that mammalian photoreceptors contain the circadian pacemaker driving rhythmic melatonin synthesis.
    The FASEB Journal 01/2008; 21(14):3866-71. DOI:10.1096/fj.07-8371com · 5.04 Impact Factor
  • A Costa · O Castañón-Cervantes · M Menaker · G Piccione · G Caola ·

    Veterinary Research Communications 09/2005; 29 Suppl 2(S2):183-6. DOI:10.1007/s11259-005-0038-9 · 1.24 Impact Factor
  • Alec J Davidson · Oscar Castañón-Cervantes · Friedrich K Stephan ·
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    ABSTRACT: The rodent suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), a site in the brain that contains a light-entrained biological (circadian) clock, has been thought of as the master oscillator, regulating processes as diverse as cell division, reproductive cycles, sleep, and feeding. However, a second circadian system exists that can be entrained by meal feeding and has an influence over metabolism and behavior. Recent advances in the molecular genetics of circadian clocks are revealing clock characteristics such as rhythmic clock gene expression in a variety of non-neural tissues such as liver. Although little is known regarding the function of these clock genes in the liver, there is a large literature that addresses the capabilities of this organ to keep time. This time-keeping capability may be an adaptive function allowing for the prediction of mealtime and therefore improved digestion and energy usage. Consequently, an understanding of these rhythms is of great importance. This review summarizes the results of studies on diurnal and circadian rhythmicity in the rodent liver. We hope to lend support to the hypothesis that there are functionally important circadian clocks outside of the brain that are not light- or SCN-dependent. Rather, these clocks are largely responsive to stimuli involved in nutrient intake. The interaction between these two systems may be very important for the ability of organisms to synchronize their internal physiology.
    Liver international: official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver 07/2004; 24(3):179-86. DOI:10.1111/j.1478-3231.2004.0917.x. · 4.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The effects of light intensity and duration on metabolic and behavioral parameters of two species of crayfish, Procambarus clarkii and Procambarus digueti, were studied. Sixty animals of each species were submitted to high irradiance conditions of two different photoperiod lengths, one normal light/dark (LD) 12:12 and one extreme LD 20:4 for 2 weeks. Hemolymph, lactate and oxygen consumption were determined throughout the experimental period. Simultaneously in 18 additional animals of each species, motor activity was individually recorded under the same control and experimental conditions. Both species showed a decrease in oxygen uptake and an increase in hemolymph lactate concentration. The statistical significance of this finding was higher for LD 20:4. This extreme condition evoked a significant decrease of motor activity in P. clarkii and a high mortality rate in P. digueti. P. digueti did not survive after the experiment, whereas P. clarkii survived and adapted to the laboratory conditions. Changes in metabolic and behavioral parameters could indicate different adaptation abilities in these species.
    Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A Molecular & Integrative Physiology 02/1998; 119(1):263-9. DOI:10.1016/S1095-6433(97)00413-3 · 1.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Five groups of 20 juvenile instars of crayfish each, were submitted to five experimental photoperiodic cycles of different photophase and scotophase characteristics during 13 weeks. The animals' total length and weight were measured weekly. When the size and maturation of the first animals were adequate, all the animals were sacrificed, and the histological study of gonads was performed. The results indicate that animals submitted to a light-dark (LD) cycle 12:12 with light interruptions in the scotophase, showed the greatest gonadal induction. However the greatest growth induction appeared in animals submitted to control condition (LD 12:12). These results could indicate for both functions two different models of photoperiodic induction.
    Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A Physiology 02/1995; 110A(2-110):139-146. DOI:10.1016/0300-9629(94)00149-N · 2.17 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

490 Citations
81.47 Total Impact Points


  • 2015
    • Rowe Neuroscience Institute
      Lenexa, Kansas, United States
  • 2008-2015
    • Morehouse School of Medicine
      • • Department of Neurobiology
      • • Neuroscience Institute
      Atlanta, Georgia, United States
  • 2005
    • Università degli Studi di Messina
      • Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie
      Messina, Sicily, Italy
  • 2004
    • University of Virginia
      • Department of Biology
      Charlottesville, Virginia, United States