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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2008 Apr;294(4):R1148-53. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00825.2007. Epub 2008 Jan 30.

Diurnal profiles of hypothalamic energy balance gene expression with photoperiod manipulation in the Siberian hamster, Phodopus sungorus.

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Division of Obesity and Metabolic Health, Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen Centre for Energy Regulation and Obesity, Aberdeen AB21 9SB, UK.


Hypothalamic energy balance genes have been examined in the context of seasonal body weight regulation in the Siberian hamster. Most of these long photoperiod (LD)/short photoperiod (SD) comparisons have been of tissues collected at a single point in the light-dark cycle. We examined the diurnal expression profile of hypothalamic genes in hamsters killed at 3-h intervals throughout the light-dark cycle after housing in LD or SD for 12 wk. Gene expression of neuropeptide Y, agouti-related peptide, proopiomelanocortin, cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript, long-form leptin receptor, suppressor of cytokine signaling-3, melanocortin-3 receptor, melanocortin-4 receptor, and the clock gene Per1 as control were measured by in situ hybridization in hypothalamic nuclei. Effects of photoperiod on gene expression and leptin levels were generally consistent with previous reports. A clear diurnal variation was observed for Per1 in the suprachiasmatic nucleus in both photoperiods. Temporal effects on expression of energy balance genes were restricted to long-form leptin receptor in the arcuate nucleus and ventromedial nucleus, where similar diurnal expression profiles were observed, and melanocortin-4 receptor in the paraventricular nucleus; these effects were only observed in LD hamsters. There was no variation in serum leptin concentration. The 24-h profiles of hypothalamic energy balance gene expression broadly confirm photoperiodic differences that were observed previously, based on single time point comparisons, support the growing consensus that these genes have a limited role in seasonal body weight regulation, and further suggest limited involvement in daily rhythms of food intake.

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