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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Apr 17;115(16):4276-4281. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1717735115. Epub 2018 Apr 2.

Long-term in vivo recording of circadian rhythms in brains of freely moving mice.

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Peking University-Tsinghua University-National Institute of Biological Sciences Joint Graduate Program, School of Life Sciences, Peking University, 100871 Beijing, China.
National Institute of Biological Sciences, 102206 Beijing, China.
Britton Chance Center for Biomedical Photonics, Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics-Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei 430074, China.
Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biomedical Photonics, Collaborative Innovation Center for Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering Sciences, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei 430074, China.
Department of Psychiatry and Center for Circadian Biology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093.
Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA 92161.
National Institute of Biological Sciences, 102206 Beijing, China;


Endogenous circadian clocks control 24-h physiological and behavioral rhythms in mammals. Here, we report a real-time in vivo fluorescence recording system that enables long-term monitoring of circadian rhythms in the brains of freely moving mice. With a designed reporter of circadian clock gene expression, we tracked robust Cry1 transcription reporter rhythms in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of WT, Cry1-/- , and Cry2-/- mice in LD (12 h light, 12 h dark) and DD (constant darkness) conditions and verified that signals remained stable for over 6 mo. Further, we recorded Cry1 transcriptional rhythms in the subparaventricular zone (SPZ) and hippocampal CA1/2 regions of WT mice housed under LD and DD conditions. By using a Cre-loxP system, we recorded Per2 and Cry1 transcription rhythms specifically in vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) neurons of the SCN. Finally, we demonstrated the dynamics of Per2 and Cry1 transcriptional rhythms in SCN VIP neurons following an 8-h phase advance in the light/dark cycle.


circadian clock; in vivo fluorescence recording; light/dark cycle; phase advance; suprachiasmatic nucleus

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Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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