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.
Luby MD, Hsu CT, Shuster SA, Gallardo CM, Mistlberger RE, et al. (2012) Food Anticipatory Activity Behavior of Mice across a Wide Range of Circadian and Non-Circadian Intervals. PLoS ONE 7(5): e37992. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037992
Food Anticipatory Activity Behavior of Mice across a Wide Range of Circadian and Non-Circadian Intervals
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