The retinohypothalamic tract (RHT) relays photic information from the eyes to the brain biological clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Activation of this pathway by light plays a role in adjusting circadian timing to light exposure at night. Here we report a new signaling pathway by which the RHT regulates circadian timing in the daytime as well. Using dual-immunocytochemistry for PACAP and the in vivo tracer Cholera toxin subunit B (ChB), intense PACAP immunoreactivity (PACAP-IR) was observed in retinal afferents at the rat SCN as web as in the intergeniculate leaflet (IGL) of the thalamus. This PACAP-IR was nearly lost upon bilateral eye enucleation. PACAP afferents originated from ganglion cells distributed throughout the retina. The phase of circadian rhythm measured as SCN neuronal activity in vitro was significantly advanced by application of PACAP-38 during the subjective day, but not at night. The effect is channelled to the clock via a PACAP 1 receptor-cAMP signaling mechanism. Thus, in addition to its role in nocturnal regulation by glutamatergic neurotransmission, the RHT can adjust the biological clock by a PACAP cAMP-dependent mechanism during the daytime.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1998|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- History and Philosophy of Science