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Neurosci Lett. 1994 Jan 3;165(1-2):117-21.

C-fos mRNA increases in the ground squirrel suprachiasmatic nucleus during arousal from hibernation.

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Department of Psychiatry, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305.


During hibernation the body temperature of the golden-mantled ground squirrel, Spermophilus lateralis, may drop below 5 degrees C for a few hours to a week or more. Animals cycle between euthermia and deep hibernation many times over the course of the hibernation season. Expression of the transcription factor c-fos increased in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus, the mammalian circadian clock, during deep hibernation and peaked during the arousal from hibernation. The pattern of increase in c-fos messenger RNA seen in the SCN by in situ hybridization was similar to that seen by Northern blot analysis of total hypothalamic RNA. The induction of c-fos may reflect a wake-up signal, increasing transcription of genes required in the euthermic state.

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