Effects of daily melatonin injections on activity rhythms of rats in constant light

M. J. Chesworth, V. M. Cassone, S. M. Armstrong

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63 Scopus citations


Although from pinealectomy studies the pineal body does not appear to participate in the generation of circadian rhythms of mammals, daily injections of the pineal hormone melatonin entrain free-running locomotor activity rhythms of rats in constant darkness. The aim of the present study was to determine whether rats whose circadian activity and drinking rhythms were disrupted in constant light (LL) could be synchronized by daily melatonin administration. Rats were subjected to a regime of gradually increasing photoperiod until they were maintained in LL. Rats whose rhythms became disrupted or showed intact free-running rhythms were injected daily with either melatonin (1 mg/kg) or vehicle (ethanol-saline) solution. Daily melatonin injections either synchronized or partly synchronized disrupted circadian patterns of activity. In contrast to previous findings from experiments conducted in contrast darkness, melatonin did not entrain but only partly synchronized intact free-running rhythms. Results are interpreted in terms of melatonin acting on the coupling or phase relationships between oscillators generating circadian locomotor activity rhythms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R101-R107
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1 (22/1)
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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