A Functional analysis of circadian pacemakers in nocturnal rodents

II. The variability of phase response curves

Summary

  1. 1

    Phase response curves for 15′ bright light pulses of four species of nocturnal rodents are described. All show delay phase shifts early in the subjective night, advance shifts in the late subjective night, and relative insensitivity during the subjective day.

  2. 2

    The broad scatter in measured phase-shifts is largely due to error of measurement: the response of the pacemakers to light stimuli is more accurate than we observe.

  3. 3.

    Indications are found that the response to a resetting stimulus at a given phase of the rhythm is correlated with the individual\(\bar \tau \) (freerunning period). Fast pacemakers (short\(\bar \tau \)) tend to be more delayed or less advanced by the light than slow pacemakers (long\(\bar \tau \)).

  4. 4.

    Within individual mice (Mus musculus) the circadian pacemaker adjusts its resetting response to variations in its frequency: when τ is long (induced as after-effect of prior light treatment) light pulses at a defined phase of the oscillation (ct 15) produce smaller delay phase shifts than when τ is short.

  5. 5.

    Among species there are conspicuous differences in the shape of the phase response curve: where\(\bar \tau \) is long, advance phase shifts are large and delay phase shifts small (Mesocricetus auratus); where\(\bar \tau \) is short, advance shifts are small, and delay shifts are large (Mus musculus;Peromyscus maniculatus).

  6. 6.

    The functional meaning of the interrelationships of τ and PRC is briefly discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Burchard, J.E.: Resetting a biological clock. Ph. D. Thesis Princeton University, 1–66 (1958)

  2. Christianson, R., Sweeney, B. M.: The dependence of the phase response curve for the luminescence rhythm inGonyaulax on the irradiance in constant conditions. Int. J. Chronobiol.1, 95–100 (1973)

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Daan, S., Pittendrigh, C. S.: A functional analysis of circadian pacemakers in nocturnal rodents. III. Heavy water and constant light: homeostasis of frequency? J. comp. Physiol.106, 267–290 (1976)

    Google Scholar 

  4. DeCoursey, P.J.: Daily light sensitivity rhythm in a rodent. Science131, 33–35 (1960)

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. DeCoursey, P.J.: Effect of light on the circadian activity rhythm of the flying squirrel,Glaucomys volans. Z. vergl. Physiol.44, 331–354 (1961)

    Google Scholar 

  6. DeCoursey, P.J.: Function of a light response rhythm in hamsters. J. cell. comp. Physiol.63, 189–196 (1964)

    Google Scholar 

  7. Dowse, H. B., Palmer, J. D.: The chronomutagenic effect of deuterium oxide on the period and entrainment of a biological rhythm. Biol. Bull.143, 513–524 (1972)

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Elliott, J.A.: Photoperiodic regulation of testis function in the golden hamster: relation to the circadian system. Ph. D. Thesis, University of Texas, Austin 248pp. (1974)

  9. Kramm, K. R.: Circadian activity in the antelope ground squirrel,Ammospermophilus leucurus, Ph. D. thesis, U.C. Irvine, i–xviii, 267 pp. (1971)

  10. Lohmann, M.: Der durch circadiane Frequenzänderung entstehende Fehler bei der Bestimmung von Phasenverschiebungen. Experientia (Basel)22, 340 (1966)

    Google Scholar 

  11. Natalini, J.J.: Relationship of the Phase-Response-Curve for Light to the Free-running Period of the Kangaroo RatDipodomys merriami. Physiol. Zool.45, 153–166 (1972)

    Google Scholar 

  12. Pittendrigh, C. S.: The circadian oscillation inDrosophila pseudoobscura pupae: A model for the photoperiodic clock. Z. Pflanzenphysiol.54, 275–307 (1966)

    Google Scholar 

  13. Pittendrigh, C. S.: Circadian systems. I. The driving oscillation and its assay inDrosophila pseudoobscura. Proc. nat Acad. Sci. (Wash.)58, 1762–1767 (1967)

    Google Scholar 

  14. Pittendrigh, C.S.: Circadian oscillations in cells and the circadian organization of multicellular systems. In: The neurosciences: Third Study Program (eds. F.O. Schmitt, F.G. Worden) pp. 437–458 Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press 1974

    Google Scholar 

  15. Pittendrigh, C.S., Bruce, V., Kaus, P.: On the significance of transients in daily rhythms. Proc. nat. Acad. Sci. (Wash.)44, 965–973 (1958)

    Google Scholar 

  16. Pittendrigh, C. S., Daan, S.: A functional analysis of circadian pacemakers in nocturnal rodents. I. The stability and lability of spontaneous frequency. J. comp. Physiol.106, 223–252 (1976a)

    Google Scholar 

  17. Pittendrigh, C.S., Daan, S.: A functional analysis of circadian pacemakers in nocturnal rodents: IV. Entrainment: pacemaker as clock. J. comp. Physiol.106, 291–331 (1976b)

    Google Scholar 

  18. Pittendrigh, C. S., Minis, D. H.: The entrainment of circadian oscillations by light and their role as photoperiodic clocks. Amer. Naturalist98, 261–294 (1964)

    Google Scholar 

  19. Suter, R.B., Rawson, K.S.: Circadian activity rhythm of the deermouse Peromyscus: effect of deuterium oxide. Science160, 1011–1014 (1968)

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Daan, S., Pittendrigh, C.S. A Functional analysis of circadian pacemakers in nocturnal rodents. J. Comp. Physiol. 106, 253–266 (1976). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01417857

Download citation

Keywords

  • Light Pulse
  • Phase Response Curve
  • Circadian Pacemaker
  • Broad Scatter
  • Subjective Night