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J Biol Rhythms. 2017 Apr;32(2):101-108. doi: 10.1177/0748730417691205. Epub 2017 Feb 1.

Carbachol Induces Phase-dependent Phase Shifts of Per1 Transcription Rhythms in Cultured Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Slices.

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Department of Systems Biology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan.
Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Saitama, Japan.
Department of Electronics and Intelligent Systems, Tohoku Institute of Technology, Sendai, Japan.


Among nonphotic stimulants, a classic cholinergic agonist, carbachol, is known to have a strong and unique phase-resetting effect on the circadian clock: Intracerebroventricular carbachol treatment causes phase delays during the subjective early night and phase advances in the subjective late night, but the effects of this drug on the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in vivo and in vitro are still controversial. In the present study, we succeeded in reproducing the biphasic phase-shifting effect of carbachol on clock gene expression in organotypic SCN slices prepared from mice carrying a Per1-promoter fused luciferase gene ( Per1-luc). Since this biphasic effect of carbachol in Per1-luc SCN was prevented by atropine but not by mecamylamine, we concluded that these phase shifts were muscarinic receptor-dependent. Next, we analyzed the expression of muscarinic receptors in the SCN by in situ hybridization and found that M3 and M4 subtypes were expressed in SCN cells. These signals appeared neonatally and reached adult levels at postnatal day 10. Together, these findings suggest that carbachol has a phase-dependent phase-shifting effect on the SCN clock through muscarinic receptor subtypes expressed in the SCN.


Per1; carbachol; mice; muscarinic receptor; slice culture; suprachiasmatic nucleus

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