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The suprachiasmatic nuclei contain a circadian clock whose activity can be recorded in vitro for several days. Photic information is conveyed to the nuclei primarily via a direct projection from the retina, the retinohypothalamic tract, utilizing an excitatory amino acid neurotransmitter. Photic phase shifts may be mimicked by application of glutamate in vitro. A second, indirect pathway to the suprachiasmatic nuclei via the geniculohypothalamic tract utilizes neuropeptide Y as a transmitter. Phase shifts to neuropeptide Y in vitro are similar to those seen to non-photic stimuli in vivo. We have used the hypothalamic slice preparation to examine the interactions of photic and non-photic stimuli in the suprachiasmatic nuclei. Coronal hypothalamic slices containing the suprachiasmatic nuclei were prepared from Syrian hamsters and 3 min recordings of the firing rate of individual cells were performed throughout a 12 h period. Control slices receiving either no application or application of artificial cerebrospinal fluid to the suprachiasmatic nucleus showed a consistent daily peak in their rhythms. Glutamate produces phase shifts of the circadian clock in the hamster hypothalamic slice preparation during the subjective night but not during the subjective day. These phase shifts were similar in timing and direction to the photic phase response curve in vivo confirming previous work with the rat slice preparation. Neuropeptide Y produces phase shifts of the circadian clock during the subjective day but not during the subjective night. The phase shifts are similar in timing and direction to the non-photic phase response curve in vivo, confirming previous in vitro work. We then examined the interaction of these neurochemicals with each other at various times during the circadian cycle. We found that both advances and delays to glutamate in the slice are blocked by application of neuropeptide Y. We also found that phase shifts to neuropeptide Y in the slice are blocked by application of glutamate. These results indicate that photic and non-photic associated neurochemicals can block each others phase shifting effects within the suprachiasmatic nucleus in vitro. These experiments demonstrate the ability of photic and non-photic associated neurochemicals to interact at the level of the suprachiasmatic nucleus. It is clear that neuropeptide Y antagonizes the effect of glutamate during the subjective night, and that glutamate antagonizes the effect of neuropeptide Y during the subjective day. Great care must be taken when devising treatments where photic and non-photic signals may interact.
|Glasgow Author(s):||Biello, Prof Stephany|
|Authors:||Biello, S.M., Golombek, D.A., and Harrington, M.E.|
|College/School:||College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology|