Psychology, Department of

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Scheduled Daily Mating Induces Circadian Anticipatory Activity Rhythms in the Male Rat

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2012
Abstract: 

Daily schedules of limited access to food, palatable high calorie snacks, water and salt can induce circadian rhythms of anticipatory locomotor activity in rats and mice. All of these stimuli are rewarding, but whether anticipation can be induced by neural correlates of reward independent of metabolic perturbations associated with manipulations of food and hydration is unclear. Three experiments were conducted to determine whether mating, a non-ingestive behavior that is potently rewarding, can induce circadian anticipatory activity rhythms in male rats provided scheduled daily access to steroid-primed estrous female rats. In Experiment 1, rats anticipated access to estrous females in the mid-light period, but also exhibited post-coital eating and running. In Experiment 2, post-coital eating and running were prevented and only a minority of rats exhibited anticipation. Rats allowed to see and smell estrous females showed no anticipation. In both experiments, all rats exhibited sustained behavioral arousal and multiple mounts and intromissions during every session, but ejaculated only every 2–3 days. In Experiment 3, the rats were given more time with individual females, late at night for 28 days, and then in the midday for 28 days. Ejaculation rates increased and anticipation was robust to night sessions and significant although weaker to day sessions. The anticipation rhythm persisted during 3 days of constant dark without mating. During anticipation of nocturnal mating, the rats exhibited a significant preference for a tube to the mating cage over a tube to a locked cage with mating cage litter. This apparent place preference was absent during anticipation of midday mating, which may reflect a daily rhythm of sexual reward. The results establish mating as a reward stimulus capable of inducing circadian rhythms of anticipatory behavior in the male rat, and reveal a critical role for ejaculation, a modulatory role for time of day, and a potential confound role for uncontrolled food intake.

Document type: 
Article

Food Anticipatory Activity Behavior of Mice across a Wide Range of Circadian and Non-Circadian Intervals

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2012
Abstract: 

When rodents are fed in a limited amount during the daytime, they rapidly redistribute some of their nocturnal activity to the time preceding the delivery of food. In rats, anticipation of a daily meal has been interpreted as a circadian rhythm controlled by a food-entrained oscillator (FEO) with circadian limits to entrainment. Lesion experiments place this FEO outside of the light-entrainable circadian pacemaker in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Mice also anticipate a fixed daily meal, but circadian limits to entrainment and anticipation of more than 2 daily meals, have not been assessed. We used a video-based behavior recognition system to quantify food anticipatory activity in mice receiving 2, 3, or 6 daily meals at intervals of 12, 8, or 4-hours (h). Individual mice were able to anticipate as many as 4 of 6 daily meals, and anticipation persisted during meal omission tests. On the 6 meal schedule, pre-prandial activity and body temperature were poorly correlated, suggesting independent regulation. Mice showed a limited ability to anticipate an 18 h feeding schedule. Finally, mice showed concurrent circadian and sub-hourly anticipation when provided with 6 small meals, at 30 minute intervals, at a fixed time of day. These results indicate that mice can anticipate feeding opportunities at a fixed time of day across a wide range of intervals not previously associated with anticipatory behavior in studies of rats. The methods described here can be exploited to determine the extent to which timing of different intervals in mice relies on common or distinct neural and molecular mechanisms.

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Article
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Circadian Clocks for All Meal-Times: Anticipation of 2 Daily Meals in Rats

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2012
Abstract: 

Anticipation of a daily meal in rats has been conceptualized as a rest-activity rhythm driven by a food-entrained circadian oscillator separate from the pacemaker generating light-dark (LD) entrained rhythms. Rats can also anticipate two daily mealtimes, but whether this involves independently entrained oscillators, one ‘continuously consulted’ clock, cue-dependent non-circadian interval timing or a combination of processes, is unclear. Rats received two daily meals, beginning 3-h (meal 1) and 13-h (meal 2) after lights-on (LD 14:10). Anticipatory wheel running began 68±8 min prior to meal 1 and 101±9 min prior to meal 2 but neither the duration nor the variability of anticipation bout lengths exhibited the scalar property, a hallmark of interval timing. Meal omission tests in LD and constant dark (DD) did not alter the timing of either bout of anticipation, and anticipation of meal 2 was not altered by a 3-h advance of meal 1. Food anticipatory running in this 2-meal protocol thus does not exhibit properties of interval timing despite the availability of external time cues in LD. Across all days, the two bouts of anticipation were uncorrelated, a result more consistent with two independently entrained oscillators than a single consulted clock. Similar results were obtained for meals scheduled 3-h and 10-h after lights-on, and for a food-bin measure of anticipation. Most rats that showed weak or no anticipation to one or both meals exhibited elevated activity at mealtime during 1 or 2 day food deprivation tests in DD, suggesting covert operation of circadian timing in the absence of anticipatory behavior. A control experiment confirmed that daytime feeding did not shift LD-entrained rhythms, ruling out displaced nocturnal activity as an explanation for daytime activity. The results favor a multiple oscillator basis for 2-meal anticipatory rhythms and provide no evidence for involvement of cue-dependent interval timing.

Document type: 
Article

Evidence for Time-of-Day Dependent Effect of Neurotoxic Dorsomedial Hypothalamic Lesions on Food Anticipatory Circadian Rhythms in Rats

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2011
Abstract: 

The dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH) is a site of circadian clock gene and immediate early gene expression inducible by daytime restricted feeding schedules that entrain food anticipatory circadian rhythms in rats and mice. The role of the DMH in the expression of anticipatory rhythms has been evaluated using different lesion methods. Partial lesions created with the neurotoxin ibotenic acid (IBO) have been reported to attenuate food anticipatory rhythms, while complete lesions made with radiofrequency current leave anticipatory rhythms largely intact. We tested a hypothesis that the DMH and fibers of passage spared by IBO lesions play a time-of-day dependent role in the expression of food anticipatory rhythms. Rats received intra-DMH microinjections of IBO and activity and body temperature (Tb) rhythms were recorded by telemetry during ad-lib food access, total food deprivation and scheduled feeding, with food provided for 4-h/day for 20 days in the middle of the light period and then for 20 days late in the dark period. During ad-lib food access, rats with DMH lesions exhibited a lower amplitude and mean level of light-dark entrained activity and Tb rhythms. During the daytime feeding schedule, all rats exhibited food anticipatory activity and Tb rhythms that persisted during 2 days without food in constant dark. In some rats with partial or total DMH ablation, the magnitude of the anticipatory rhythm was weak relative to most intact rats. When mealtime was shifted to the late night, the magnitude of the food anticipatory activity rhythms in these cases was restored to levels characteristic of intact rats. These results confirm that rats can anticipate scheduled daytime or nighttime meals without the DMH. Improved anticipation at night suggests a modulatory role for the DMH in the expression of food anticipatory activity rhythms during the daily light period, when nocturnal rodents normally sleep.

Document type: 
Article
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Palatable Meal Anticipation in Mice

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

The ability to sense time and anticipate events is a critical skill in nature. Most efforts to understand the neural and molecular mechanisms of anticipatory behavior in rodents rely on daily restricted food access, which induces a robust increase of locomotor activity in anticipation of daily meal time. Interestingly, rats also show increased activity in anticipation of a daily palatable meal even when they have an ample food supply, suggesting a role for brain reward systems in anticipatory behavior, and providing an alternate model by which to study the neurobiology of anticipation in species, such as mice, that are less well adapted to “stuff and starve” feeding schedules. To extend this model to mice, and exploit molecular genetic resources available for that species, we tested the ability of wild-type mice to anticipate a daily palatable meal. We observed that mice with free access to regular chow and limited access to highly palatable snacks of chocolate or “Fruit Crunchies” avidly consumed the snack but did not show anticipatory locomotor activity as measured by running wheels or video-based behavioral analysis. However, male mice receiving a snack of high fat chow did show increased food bin entry prior to access time and a modest increase in activity in the two hours preceding the scheduled meal. Interestingly, female mice did not show anticipation of a daily high fat meal but did show increased activity at scheduled mealtime when that meal was withdrawn. These results indicate that anticipation of a scheduled food reward in mice is behavior, diet, and gender specific.

 

Document type: 
Article

Enhanced Food Anticipatory Activity Associated with Enhanced Activation of Extrahypothalamic Neural Pathways in Serotonin2C Receptor Null Mutant Mice

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

The ability to entrain circadian rhythms to food availability is important for survival. Food-entrained circadian rhythms are characterized by increased locomotor activity in anticipation of food availability (food anticipatory activity). However, the molecular components and neural circuitry underlying the regulation of food anticipatory activity remain unclear. Here we show that serotonin2C receptor (5-HT2CR) null mutant mice subjected to a daytime restricted feeding schedule exhibit enhanced food anticipatory activity compared to wild-type littermates, without phenotypic differences in the impact of restricted feeding on food consumption, body weight loss, or blood glucose levels. Moreover, we show that the enhanced food anticipatory activity in 5-HT2CR null mutant mice develops independent of external light cues and persists during two days of total food deprivation, indicating that food anticipatory activity in 5-HT2CR null mutant mice reflects the locomotor output of a food-entrainable oscillator. Whereas restricted feeding induces c-fos expression to a similar extent in hypothalamic nuclei of wild-type and null mutant animals, it produces enhanced expression in the nucleus accumbens and other extrahypothalamic regions of null mutant mice relative to wild-type subjects. These data suggest that 5-HT2CRs gate food anticipatory activity through mechanisms involving extrahypothalamic neural pathways.

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Article
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Rhythms of Consciousness: Binocular Rivalry Reveals Large-Scale Oscillatory Network Dynamics Mediating Visual Perception

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009-07-03
Abstract: 

Consciousness has been proposed to emerge from functionally integrated large-scale ensembles of gamma-synchronous neural populations that form and dissolve at a frequency in the theta band. We propose that discrete moments of perceptual experience are implemented by transient gamma-band synchronization of relevant cortical regions, and that disintegration and reintegration of these assemblies is time-locked to ongoing theta oscillations. In support of this hypothesis we provide evidence that (1) perceptual switching during binocular rivalry is time-locked to gamma-band synchronizations which recur at a theta rate, indicating that the onset of new conscious percepts coincides with the emergence of a new gamma-synchronous assembly that is locked to an ongoing theta rhythm; (2) localization of the generators of these gamma rhythms reveals recurrent prefrontal and parietal sources; (3) theta modulation of gamma-band synchronization is observed between and within the activated brain regions. These results suggest that ongoing theta-modulated-gamma mechanisms periodically reintegrate a large-scale prefrontal-parietal network critical for perceptual experience. Moreover, activation and network inclusion of inferior temporal cortex and motor cortex uniquely occurs on the cycle immediately preceding responses signaling perceptual switching. This suggests that the essential prefrontal-parietal oscillatory network is expanded to include additional cortical regions relevant to tasks and perceptions furnishing consciousness at that moment, in this case image processing and response initiation, and that these activations occur within a time frame consistent with the notion that conscious processes directly affect behaviour.

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Article
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Electrical Neuroimaging Reveals Timing of Attentional Control Activity in Human Brain

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2008-04
Abstract: 

Voluntarily shifting attention to a location of the visual field improves the perception of events that occur there. Regions of frontal cortex are thought to provide the top-down control signal that initiates a shift of attention, but because of the temporal limitations of functional brain imaging, the timing and sequence of attentional-control operations remain unknown. We used a new analytical technique (beamformer spatial filtering) to reconstruct the anatomical sources of low-frequency brain waves in humans associated with attentional control across time. Following a signal to shift attention, control activity was seen in parietal cortex 100–200 ms before activity was seen in frontal cortex. Parietal cortex was then reactivated prior to anticipatory biasing of activity in occipital cortex. The magnitudes of early parietal activations were strongly predictive of the degree of attentional improvement in perceptual performance. These results show that parietal cortex, not frontal cortex, provides the initial signals to shift attention and indicate that top-down attentional control is not purely top down.

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Article
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Standards of Evidence in Chronobiology: Critical Review of a Report that Restoration of Bmal1 Expression in the Dorsomedial Hypothalamus is Sufficient to Restore Circadian Food Anticipatory Rhythms in Bmal1-/- Mice

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

Daily feeding schedules generate food anticipatory rhythms of behavior and physiology that exhibitcanonical properties of circadian clock control. The molecular mechanisms and location of foodentrainablecircadian oscillators hypothesized to control food anticipatory rhythms are unknown.In 2008, Fuller et al reported that food-entrainable circadian rhythms are absent in mice bearing anull mutation of the circadian clock gene Bmal1 and that these rhythms can be rescued by virallymediatedrestoration of Bmal1 expression in the dorsomedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (DMH)but not in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (site of the master light-entrainable circadian pacemaker).These results, taken together with controversial DMH lesion results published by the samelaboratory, appear to establish the DMH as the site of a Bmal1-dependent circadian mechanismnecessary and sufficient for food anticipatory rhythms. However, careful examination of themanuscript reveals numerous weaknesses in the evidence as presented. These problems aregrouped as follows and elaborated in detail: 1. data management issues (apparent misalignments ofplotted data), 2. failure of evidence to support the major conclusions, and 3. missing data andmethodological details. The Fuller et al results are therefore considered inconclusive, and fail toclarify the role of either the DMH or Bmal1 in the expression of food-entrainable circadian rhythmsin rodents.

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Article
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Food Anticipation in Bmal1-/- and AAV-Bmal1 Rescued Mice: A Reply to Fuller et al

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

Evidence that circadian food-anticipatory activity and temperature rhythms are absent in Bmal1knockout mice and rescued by restoration of Bmal1 expression selectively in the dorsomedialhypothalamus was published in 2008 by Fuller et al and critiqued in 2009 by Mistlberger et al. Fulleret al have responded to the critique with new information. Here we update our critique in the lightof this new information. We also identify and correct factual and conceptual errors in the Fuller etal response. We conclude that the original results of Fuller et al remain inconclusive and fail toclarify the role of Bmal1 or the dorsomedial hypothalamus in the generation of food-entrainablerhythms in mice.

Document type: 
Article