Circadian rhythms of C-FOS expression in the suprachiasmatic nuclei of the common vole (Microtus arvalis)

Daan R. van der Veen*, Margriet M. Th. van der Pol-Meijer, Koen Jansen, Maarten Smeets, Eddy A. van der Zee, Menno P. Gerkema

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

The suprachiasmatic nuclei of the hypothalamus (SCN) are the master circadian clock in mammals. Transcriptional activity in this master clock has a marker in the immediate-early gene c-Fos. Within the SCN, distinct differences in c-Fos in the ventrolateral and the dorsomedial SCN have been reported for rodent species such as rats, mice, and hamsters. We studied C-FOS expression in the common vole (Microtus arvalis) SCN under LD 12:12h and under constant dim light conditions. In the vole dorsomedial SCN, rhythmic C-FOS expression was seen in LD with a clear peak in the middle of the light period. Under constant dim light, we report constitutive, non-rhythmic expression of C-FOS in the dorsomedial SCN. This pattern is consistent with the circadian organization of behavioral activity, which is weak in voles and may be lost under constant dim-light conditions. In the ventrolateral SCN, we observed a rise in C-FOS expression under LD conditions prior to lights-on, followed by peak expression at lights-on. Another peak was seen at lights-off. In an additional experiment, we subjected animals to LD 16:8 to test the hypothesis that the dawn and dusk peaks in ventrolateral C-FOS expression change phase along with the photoperiod. The peak in C-FOS expression did not shift with the time of lights on, but remained at the same external time 6. The results are consistent with the interpretation that in the vole, c-Fos expression reports transcriptional activity associated more likely with an internal, gating process than with an external effect of light.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-499
Number of pages19
JournalChronobiology International
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • C-Fos
  • vole
  • suprachiasmatic nucleus
  • circadian rhythm
  • photoperiod
  • LIGHT-INDUCED FOS
  • PHOTIC REGULATION
  • GENE-EXPRESSION
  • HYPOTHALAMIC-LESIONS
  • DIURNAL RODENT
  • ADULT VOLES
  • RAT
  • VASOPRESSIN
  • IMMUNOREACTIVITY
  • PROTEIN

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