Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Chronobiol Int. 2012 Feb;29(1):26-34. doi: 10.3109/07420528.2011.635831.

Dim light at night increases immune function in Nile grass rats, a diurnal rodent.

Author information

Department of Neuroscience and Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.

Erratum in

  • Chronobiol Int. 2012 May;29(4):530.


With the widespread adoption of electrical lighting during the 20th century, human and nonhuman animals became exposed to high levels of light at night for the first time in evolutionary history. This divergence from the natural environment may have significant implications for certain ecological niches because of the important influence light exerts on the circadian system. For example, circadian disruption and nighttime light exposure are linked to changes in immune function. The majority of studies investigating the effects of light exposure and circadian disruption on the immune system use nocturnal rodents. In diurnal species, many hormones and immune parameters vary with secretion patterns 180° out of phase to those of nocturnal rodents. Thus, the authors investigated the effects of nighttime light exposure on immunocompetence in diurnal Nile grass rats (Arvicanthis niloticus). Rats were housed in either standard 14-h light (L):10-h dark (D) cycles with L ∼150 lux and D 0 lux or dim light at night (dLAN) cycles of LD 14:10 with L ∼150 lux and D 5 lux for 3 wks, then tested for plasma bactericidal capacity, as well as humoral and cell-mediated immune responses. Rats exposed to dLAN showed increased delayed-type hypersensitivity pinna swelling, which is consistent with enhanced cell-mediated immune function. dLAN rats similarly showed increased antibody production following inoculation with keyhole lymphocyte hemocyanin (KLH) and increased bactericidal capacity. Daytime corticosterone concentrations were elevated in grass rats exposed to nighttime dim light, which may have influenced immunological measures. Overall, these results indicate nighttime light affects immune parameters in a diurnal rodent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Taylor & Francis
    Loading ...
    Support Center