Neurons of the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) of the hypothalamus compose a primary oscillator which organizes circadian rhythms in mammals. In cultured hypothalamic slices from rat brain, the SCN diurnal oscillation in neuronal firing rate continued unperturbed when slices were prepared during the light phase of the donor's light/dark cycle. However, when slices were prepared during the donor's dark period, the rhythm was phase-shifted. The sign and shape of the phase-response relationship for resetting in the isolated oscillator is very similar to that for intact animals, except that in isolation the SCN oscillator undergoes large shifts during the first cycle. The finding that a phase-shifting stimulus at the time of brain slice preparation causes normal phase readjustment in vitro demonstrates that the underlying mechanism is endogenous to the SCN and can be probed in the brain slice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-181
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 30 1986


  • brain slice
  • circadian rhythm
  • hypothalamus-neuronal oscillator
  • phase shift
  • single unit
  • suprachiasmatic nucleus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • General Neuroscience


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