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Brain Res Bull. 1989 Feb;22(2):411-22.

Lateral geniculate lesions alter circadian activity rhythms in the hamster.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, State University of New York, Stony Brook 11794.


The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) receives photic input via a direct retinohypothalamic tract (RHT) and an indirect geniculohypothalamic tract (GHT). The neurons giving rise to the GHT are in the intergeniculate leaflet (IGL) of the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and contain neuropeptide-Y (NPY) immunoreactivity. The present study used the neurotoxin, N-methyl aspartate (NMA), to examine the effects of lesions of the LGN on circadian wheelrunning in the hamster. The results are compared to those from control lesioned animals and animals with parasigittal cuts through the hypothalamus. The effectiveness of the lesions was examined with NPY immunohistochemistry of the SCN and IGL. NMA injections destroyed the neurons of the IGL and the adjacent ventral and dorsal divisions of the LGN and greatly reduced NPY immunoreactivity in the SCN. The results of the rhythm studies were: 1) NMA injection into the LGN area produced phase advances if the injection occurred within the 12 hr preceding activity onset and delays or no effect if injected during the 12 hr after activity onset; 2) the NMA lesions reduced the rate of reentrainment to 6 hr shifts in the LD 14:10 photoperiod and advanced the entrained phase angles by about 10 min; 3) the knife cuts advanced the entrained phase angles by about 30 min; 4) neither NMA lesions nor knife cuts altered circadian period in constant dim light. Our results indicate that the GHT is not required for entrainment or normal expression of circadian rhythmicity, but that the GHT does exert an influence on entrainment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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