To investigate whether damages of cholinergic neurons in the brain produce aging-like changes in circadian rhythms, we examined the influences of intracerebroventricular injection of cholinergic neurotoxin ethylcholine aziridinium ion (AF64A, 5 nmol/5 μl) on circadian rhythms in rats, by measuring locomotor activity and body temperature with the automatic behavioral measurement system combined with the telemetry. Daily rhythms in locomotor activity and body temperature were observed in AF64A-treated rats under a 12:12 h light:dark (LD) cycle, however, in AF64A-treated rats, the amplitude of activity and temperature rhythms was significantly decreased, the phase of the both rhythms was advanced and the amount of activity was decreased, compared with control rats. Locomotor activity and body temperature also showed a circadian rhythm in AF64A-treated rats under the constant dark condition with the period similar to that in the control rats. The present findings are in accordance with the observation in aged animals in which cholinergic hypofunction are often observed, suggesting that hypofunctions of the cholinergic systems in the brain might be involved in aging-like changes in the circadian rhythms.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes