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Complete suprachiasmatic lesions eliminate circadian rhythmicity of body temperature and locomotor activity in golden hamsters

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The effects of suprachiasmatic and control lesions on the circadian rhythms of locomotor activity and body temperature were studied in golden hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) maintained in constant light as well as constant darkness. Large suprachiasmatic lesions, but not control lesions, eliminated circadian rhythmicity in locomotor activity as well as in body temperature. Analysis of the “robustness” of the rhythms of locomotor activity and body temperature in unlesioned and lesioned animals suggests that, because body temperature rhythmicity is more robust than locomotor rhythmicity, lesions that spare a small number of suprachiasmatic cells might abolish the latter but not the former. Our results do not support the hypothesis that the body temperature rhythm is controlled by a circadian pacemaker distinct from the main pacemaker located in the suprachiasmatic nuclei.

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Refinetti, R., Kaufman, C.M. & Menaker, M. Complete suprachiasmatic lesions eliminate circadian rhythmicity of body temperature and locomotor activity in golden hamsters. J Comp Physiol A 175, 223–232 (1994).

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Key words

  • Suprachiasmatic nucleus
  • Circadian rhythms
  • Body temperature
  • Locomotor activity
  • Syrian hamster