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Journal of Biological Rhythms


The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the hypothalamus serves as the pacemaker for mammalian circadian rhythms. In a hamster brain slice preparation, the authors were able to record spontaneous activity from SCN cells for up to 4 days in vitro and verify a self-sustained rhythm in firing. The phase of this rhythm was altered by the concentration of glucose in the bathing medium, with time of peak firing advanced for a 20 mM glucose condition and slightly delayed for a 5 mM glucose condition, relative to 10 mM. The advancing effect of 20 mM glucose and the delaying effect of 5 mM glucose were not maintained during a 2nd day in vitro after changing the bathing medium back to 10 mM glucose, thus indicating the effect was not a permanent phase shift of the underlying oscillation. In experiments recording from cell-attached membrane patches on acutely dissociated hamster SCN neurons, exchanging the bathing medium from high (20 mM) to zero glucose increased potassium (K+)-selective channel activity. With inside-out membrane patches, the authors revealed the presence of a glybenclamide-sensitive K+ channel (190 pS) and a larger conductance (260 pS) Ca2+- dependent K+ channel that were both reversibly inhibited by ATP at the cytoplasmic surface. Furthermore, 1 mM tetraethylammonium chloride was demonstrated to advance peak firing time in the brain slice in a similar manner to a high concentration of glucose (20 mM). The authors interpret the results to imply that SCNs are sensitive to glucose, most probably via ATP modulation of K+ channel activity in these neurons. Tonic modulation of K+ channel activity appears to alter output of the pacemaker but does not reset the phase.


ATP, ATP-sensitive K +, Brain slice, Calcium-dependent K channel +, Channel, Circadian, Glucose, Suprachiasmatic





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© 1997 Sage Publications, Inc.


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