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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2003 Sep;285(3):R690-700. Epub 2003 Apr 24.

Inhibition of hibernation by exercise is not affected by intergeniculate leaflets lesion in hamsters.

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CNRS-UMR 7518, Neurobiologie des Rythmes, Université Louis Pasteur, IFR37 Neurosciences, 12 rue de l'Université, 67000 Strasbourg, France.


The circadian clock of mammals, located in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) of the hypothalamus, has been demonstrated to integrate day length change from long (LP) to short photoperiod (SP). This photoperiodic change induces in Syrian hamsters a testicular regression through melatonin action, a phenomenon that is inhibited when hamsters have free access to a wheel. The intergeniculate leaflets (IGL), which modulate the integration of photoperiod by the SCN, are a key structure in the circadian system, conveying nonphotic information such as those induced by novelty-induced wheel running activity. We tested in hamsters transferred from LP to a cold SP the effects of wheel running activity on a photoperiod-dependent behavior, hibernation. Lesions of the IGL were done to test the role of this structure in the inhibition induced by exercise of photoperiod integration by the clock. We show that wheel running activity actually inhibits hibernation not only in sham-operated animals, but also in hamsters with a bilateral IGL lesion (IGLX). In contrast, IGL-X hamsters without a wheel integrate slower to the SP but hibernate earlier compared with sham-operated animals. Moreover, some hibernation characteristics are affected by IGL lesion. Throughout the experiment at 7 degrees C, IGL-X hamsters were in hypothermia during 18% of the experiment vs. 32% for sham-operated hamsters. Taken together, these data show that the IGL play a modulatory role in the integration of photoperiodic cues and modulate hibernation, but they are not implicated in the inhibition of hibernation induced by wheel running activity.

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