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American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology


Photoperiod is a significant modulator of behavior and physiology for many organisms. In rodents changes in photoperiod are associated with changes in circadian period and photic resetting of circadian pacemakers. Utilizing rhythms of in vivo behavior and in vitro mPer2::luc expression, we investigated whether different entrainment photoperiods [light:dark (L:D) 16:8 and L:D 8:16] alter the period or phase relationships between these rhythms and the entraining light cycle in Per2::luc C57BL/6J mice. We also tested whether mPer2::luc rhythms differs in anterior and posterior suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) slices. Our results demonstrate that photoperiod significantly changes the timing of the mPer2::luc peak relative to the time of light offset and the activity onset in vivo. In both L:D 8:16 and L:D 16:8 the mPer2::luc peak maintained a more stable phase relationship to activity offset, while altering the phase relationship to activity onset. After the initial cycle in culture, the period, phase, and peaks per cycle were not signifi-cantly different for anterior vs. posterior SCN slices taken from animals within one photoperiod. After short-photoperiod treatment, anterior SCN slices showed increased-amplitude Per2::luc waveforms and posterior SCN slices showed shorter-duration peak width. Finally, the SCN tissue in vitro did not demonstrate differences in period attributable to photoperiod pretreatment, indicating that period after-effects observed in behavioral rhythms after long- and short-day photoperiods are not sustained in Per2::luc rhythms in vitro. The change in phase relationship to activity onset suggests that Per2::luc rhythms in the SCN may track activity offset rather than activity onset. The reduced amplitude rhythms following long-photoperiod treatment may represent a loss of coupling of component oscillators.


Circadian rhythm, Entrainment, In vitro expression, mPeriod2, Suprachiasmatic nucleus










© 2008 the American Physiological Society.


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