Restricted daily feeding schedules entrain circadian oscillators that generate food anticipatory activity (FAA) rhythms in nocturnal rodents. The location of food-entrainable oscillators (FEOs) necessary for FAA remains uncertain. The most common procedure for inducing circadian FAA is to limit food access to a few hours in the middle of the light period, when activity levels are normally low. Although light at night suppresses activity (negative masking) in nocturnal rodents, it does not prevent the expression of daytime FAA. Nonetheless, light could reduce the duration or magnitude of FAA. If so, then neural or genetic ablations designed to identify components of the food-entrainable circadian system could alter the expression of FAA by affecting behavioral responses to light. To assess the plausibility of light as a potential mediating variable in studies of FAA mechanisms, we quantified FAA in rats and mice alternately maintained in a standard full photoperiod (12h of light/day) and in a skeleton photoperiod (two 60 min light pulses simulating dawn and dusk). In both species, FAA was significantly and reversibly enhanced in the skeleton photoperiod compared to the full photoperiod. In a third experiment, FAA was found to be significantly attenuated in rats by pinealectomy, a procedure that has been reported to enhance some effects of light on behavioral circadian rhythms. These results indicate that procedures affecting behavioral responses to light can significantly alter the magnitude of food anticipatory rhythms in rodents.
Patton DF, Parfyonov M, Gourmelen S, Opiol H, Pavlovski I, et al. (2013) Photic and Pineal Modulation of Food Anticipatory Circadian Activity Rhythms in Rodents. PLoS ONE 8(12): e81588. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081588
Photic and Pineal Modulation of Food Anticipatory Circadian Activity Rhythms in Rodents
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