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Brain Res. 2003 Mar 28;967(1-2):48-62.

Organization of the circadian system in the subterranean mole rat, Cryptomys hottentotus (Bathyergidae).

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INSERM Unité 371, 'Cerveau et Vision', 18 Avenue du Doyen Lépine, 69675 Bron, France.


The mole rat, Cryptomys hottentotus (Bathyergidae) is a gregarious subterranean rodent, which shows no entrainment to ambient light-dark cycles. The locomotor activity of individuals or of a whole colony, which shows no circadian rhythmicity. Since the lack of both synchronization to light-dark cycle and an endogenous rhythm of locomotor activity could be related to the organization of the circadian system, we have investigated the neuropeptidergic features of the SCN and IGL, and have used pseudorabies viral tracing methods to identify the visual and circadian pathways in this species. The precise topographic distribution of certain neuropeptide populations in the SCN differs from typical rodent pattern of organization and may be correlated with the apparent absence of light entrainment of activity and lack of endogenous rhythmicity. The IGL is highly reduced in size. This structure can nevertheless be identified by the presence of NPY and CALB positive neurons, as well as by a dense network of SP fibers. Viral tracing using intraocular injection of the PRV-Becker and PRV-Bartha strains, leads to differential infection of neurons in circadian and visual structures. With the Bartha strain, infected neurons are principally observed in the SCN, whereas the Becker strain leads primarily to infection of the dLGN and shows an anatomical regression of visual structures. Transsynaptic retrograde infection of the retina contralateral to the injected eye reveals a morphologically homogeneous population, which resemble to retinohypothalamic ganglion cells described in other mammals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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