Effects of preparation time on phase of cultured tissues reveal complexity of circadian organization

Tomoko Yoshikawa, Shin Yamazaki, Michael Menaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


The phases of central (SCN) and peripheral circadian oscillators are held in specific relationships under LD cycles but, in the absence of external rhythmic input, may damp or drift out of phase with each other. Rats exposed to prolonged constant light become behaviorally arrhythmic, perhaps as a consequence of dissociation of phases among SCN cells. The authors asked whether individual central and peripheral circadian oscillators were rhythmic in LL-treated arrhythmic rats and, if rhythmic, what were the phase relationships between them. The authors prepared SCN, pineal gland, pituitary, and cornea cultures from transgenic Period1-luciferase rats whose body temperature and locomotor activity were arrhythmic and from several groups of rhythmic rats held in LD, DD, and short-term LL. The authors measured mPer1 gene expression by recording light output with sensitive photomultipliers. Most of the cultures from all groups displayed circadian rhythms. This could reflect persistent rhythmicity in vivo prior to culture or, alternatively, rhythmicity that may have been initiated by the culture procedure. To test this, the authors cultured tissues at 2 different times 12 h apart and asked whether phase of the rhythm was related to culture time. The pineal, pituitary, and SCN cultures showed partial or complete dependence of phase on culture time, while peak phases of the cornea cultures were independent of culture time in rhythmic rats and were randomly distributed regardless of culture time in arrhythmic animals. These results suggest that in behaviorally arrhythmic rats, oscillators in the pineal, pituitary, and SCN had been arrhythmic or severely damped in vivo, while the cornea oscillator was free running. The peak phases of the SCN cultures were particularly sensitive to some aspect of the culture procedure since rhythmicity of SCN cultures from robustly rhythmic LD-entrained rats was strongly influenced when the procedure was carried out at any time except the 2nd half of the day.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)500-512
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Rhythms
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Circadian organization
  • Constant Light
  • Cornea
  • Culture
  • Period1
  • Pineal
  • Pituitary
  • SCN

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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