A neural theory of circadian rhythms: Aschoffs rule in diurnal and nocturnal mammals

Author(s): Carpenter, G.A. | Grossberg, S. |

Year: 1984

Citation: American Journal of Physiology (Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology), 247

Abstract: A neural model of the suprachiasmatic nuclei suggests how behavioral activity, rest, and circadian period depend on light intensity in diurnal and nocturnal mammals. these properties are traced to the action of light input (external zeitgeber) and an activity-mediated fatigue signal (internal zeitgeber) on the circadian pacemaker. Light enhances activity of the diurnal model and suppresses activity of the nocturnal model. Fatigue suppresses activity in both diurnal and nocturnal models. the asymmetrical action of light and fatigue of diurnal vs. nocturnal models explains the more consistent adherence of nocturnal mammals to Aschoffs rule, the consistence adherence of both diurnal and nocturnal mammals to the circadian rule, and the tendency of nocturnal mammals to lose circadian rhythmicity at lower light levels than diurnal mammals. The fatigue signal is related to the sleep process S of Borbely (Hum. Neurobiol. 1: 195-204, 1982.) and contributes to the stability of circadian period. Two predictions follow: diurnal mammals obey Aschoffs rule less consistently during a self-selected light-dark cycle than in constant light, and if light level is increased enough during sleep in diurnal mammals to compensate for eye closure, then Aschoffs rule will hold more consistently. The results are compared with those of Enrights model.

Topics: Biological Learning, Models: Other,

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