Results from a variety of sources indicate a role for pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) in light/glutamate-induced phase resetting of the circadian clock mediated by the retinohypothalamic tract (RHT). Attempts to block or remove PACAP’s contribution to clock-resetting have generated phenotypes that differ in their responses to light or glutamate. For example, previous studies of circadian behaviors found that period-maintenance and early-night phase delays are intact in PACAP-null mice, yet there is a consistent deficit in behavioral phase-resetting to light stimulation in the late night. Here we report rodent stimulus–response characteristics of PACAP release from the RHT, and map these to responses of the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in intact and PACAP-deficient mouse hypothalamus with regard to phase-resetting. SCN of PACAP-null mice exhibit normal circadian rhythms in neuronal activity, but are “blind” to glutamate stimulating phase-advance responses in late night, although not in early night, consistent with previously reported selective lack of late-night light behavioral responsiveness of these mice. Induction of CREB phosphorylation, a hallmark of the light/glutamate response of the SCN, also is absent in SCN-containing ex vivo slices from PACAP-deficient mouse hypothalamus. PACAP replacement to the SCN of PACAP-null mice restored wild-type phase-shifting of firing-rate patterns in response to glutamate applied to the SCN in late night. Likewise, ex vivo SCN of wild-type mice post-orbital enucleation are unresponsive to glutamate unless PACAP also is restored. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the period of efficacy of PACAP at SCN nerve terminals corresponds to waxing of PACAP mRNA expression in ipRGCs during the night, and waning during the day. These results validate the use of PACAP-deficient mice in defining the role and specificity of PACAP as a co-transmitter with glutamate in ipRGC-RHT projections to SCN in phase advancing the SCN circadian rhythm in late night.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Frontiers in Neuroscience|
|State||Published - Dec 6 2019|
- circadian rhythm
- phase advance
- suprachiasmatic nucleus
ASJC Scopus subject areas