Aging alters the rhythmic expression of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide mRNA but not arginine vasopressin mRNA in the suprachiasmatic nuclei of female rats

Kristine Krajnak, Michael L. Kashon, Katherine L. Rosewell, Phyllis M. Wise

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Our laboratory has shown that the ability of the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) to regulate a number of rhythmic processes may be compromised by the time females reach middle age. Therefore, we examined the effects of aging on the rhythmic expression of two neuropeptides synthesized in the SCN, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) and arginine vasopressin (AVP), using in situ hybridization. Because both VIP and AVP are outputs of the SCN, we hypothesized that age-related changes in rhythmicity are associated with alterations in the patterns of expression of these peptides. We found that VIP mRNA levels exhibited a 24 hr rhythm in young females, but by the time animals were middle-aged, this rhythm was gone. The attenuation of rhythmicity was associated with a decline in the level of mRNA per cell and in the number of cells in the SCN producing detectable VIP mRNA. AVP mRNA also showed a robust 24 hr rhythm in young females. However, in contrast to VIP, the AVP rhythm was not altered in the aging animals. The amount of mRNA per cell and the number of cells expressing AVP mRNA also was not affected with age. Based on these results we conclude that (1) various components of the SCN are differentially affected by aging; and (2) age-related changes in various rhythms may be attributable to changes in the ability of the SCN to transmit timing information to target sites. This may explain why the deterioration of various rhythmic processes occurs at different rates and at different times during the aging process.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)4767-4774
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Neuroscience
    Volume18
    Issue number12
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jun 15 1998

    Keywords

    • Aging
    • Arginine vasopressin
    • Females
    • Rhythms
    • Suprachiasmatic nuclei
    • Vasoactire intestinal polypeptide

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Neuroscience(all)

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