Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 146, Issue 2, pp 245–253 | Cite as

Entrainment of the circadian system of the house sparrow: A population of oscillators in pinealectomized birds

  • Joseph S. Takahashi
  • Michael Menaker


Removal of the pineal gland modifies the entrainment behavior of house sparrows. Abnormal entrainment occurs in pinealectomized sparrows exposed to ‘skeleton’ photoperiods (light cycles composed of 2 pulses of light per 24-h cycle). This abnormal entrainment depends upon the state of the locomotor activity (rhythmic or arrhythmic) before exposure to the light cycle, and upon the interval between the 2 pulses of light which constitute the skeleton photoperiod. The conditions that produce abnormal entrainment in pinealectomized birds are strongly correlated with those that produce 2 stable phases of entrainment to skeleton photoperiods in normal birds (‘bistability phenomenon’). These results suggest that after pinealectomy, there remains a population of oscillators whose combined output is reflected in the locomotor activity of individual sparrows.


Locomotor Activity Stable Phasis Pineal Gland Light Cycle House Sparrow 


LD 12

12 light-dark cycle with 12 h of light and 12 h of dark per 24-h cycle


circadian time


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph S. Takahashi
    • 1
  • Michael Menaker
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of NeuroscienceUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA

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