Circadian regulation of chick electroretinogram: Effects of pinealectomy and exogenous melatonin

Jennifer M. McGoogan, Vincent M. Cassone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Melatonin is an important component of the avian circadian system. This study investigates the effects of pinealectomy (Pin-X) and melatonin implantation (Mel) on electroretinogram (ERG) rhythms in chicks. Feeding rhythms were monitored to obtain a phase reference for ERG recordings. Pin-X and Mel had little or no effect on feeding rhythms. Sham-operated Pin-X and vehicle implantation had no effect on ERG rhythms in the light-dark (LD) cycle or constant darkness (DD). ERG a- and b-wave amplitudes were higher during the day than during the night. The a- and b-wave implicit times were shorter during the day than during the night, a-Wave sensitivity was higher during the night than during the day, whereas b-wave sensitivity was not rhythmic. Pin-X abolished the circadian rhythm of b-wave amplitude and implicit time in DD but had no effect on a-wave rhythmicity. Mel abolished the rhythm of b-wave amplitude and of a-and b-wave implicit time in DD. Neither treatment affected ERG in LD. These results suggest that the circadian system regulates rhythmic visual function in the retina at least partially through Mel. The role played by the pineal gland and Mel may be specific to some physiological modalities (e.g., vision) while not influencing others (e,g., feeding).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R1418-R1427
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5 46-5
StatePublished - Nov 1999


  • Birds
  • Circadian rhythms
  • Pineal gland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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