Fos and Jun mRNA and peptide exhibit a daily light-induced rhythm in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). The authors previously have reported that Fos expression in the SCN is elevated prematurely during the dark, light-induced Fos expression is attenuated in middle-aged rats, and transplantation of fetal SCN tissue into the third ventricle of rats of this age restores the daily pattern of Fos expression to that of the young. Using immunocytochemistry, the authors performed the present study to determine whether Jun-B and Jun-D expression in the SCN is altered at the same stage during aging and, if so, whether transplantation of fetal tissue containing the SCN can restore the light-induced rhythms of these two immediate early genes. All groups of rats were transcardially perfused 90 min prior to and after light onset. In young rats, light induced a robust increase in the number of Jun-B positive cells in the SCN, whereas very few cells were labeled before light onset. In middle-aged rats, the light-induced increase in the number of Jun-B positive cells was significantly attenuated. Transplantation of fetal SCN tissue into the middle-aged rats successfully restored light-induced Jun-B expression to the levels of young rats. By contrast, Jun-D exhibited a constitutively high level of expression in the SCN both before and after light onset, and light induced only a slight but significant increase. No age-related changes were detected in the expression of Jun-D either before or after light onset. Transplantation of fetal SCN tissue did not alter the daily pattern of Jun-D expression in the middle-aged rats. These data suggest that (1) light-induced activation of SCN neural activity is blunted during aging, (2) fetal SCN tissue can provide the critical support to allow the host to respond properly to light cues, and (3) the age-related change in Jun-B expression in the middle-aged host SCN can be rescued by fetal SCN transplants.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)