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J Exp Zool. 1999 Jun 15;284(1):100-6.

Daily scheduling of the golden spiny mouse under photoperiodic and social cues.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiochemistry, Tel Aviv University, Israel.


A most important function of the circadian system is to ensure that behaviors and metabolism are appropriately timed with respect to the light/dark cycle and photoperiod. Ecological constraints can perturb the daily schedules; would they also impair photoperiodic adaptations? A natural model exists in the golden spiny mouse (Acomys russatus), which is nocturnal, but driven into diurnal activity when sharing the habitat with its congener, A. cahirinus. We show here that the presence of A. cahirinus alters the diurnal rhythms of body temperature and urine volume, delays excretion of the major melatonin metabolite, 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (6-SMT), and increases 2-deoxyglucose uptake by the suprachiasmatic nuclei in A. russatus. Nevertheless, a clear photoperiod effect on urine volume and 6-SMT rhythms was observed. These results indicate that the circadian system can adapt to major changes in daily scheduling without impairing daylength measurement, and consequently seasonal adaptation.

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