Indexed on: 28 Nov '13Published on: 28 Nov '13Published in: PloS one
Clock genes Cryptochrome (Cry1) and Cry2 are essential for expression of circadian rhythms in mice under constant darkness (DD). However, circadian rhythms in clock gene Per1 expression or clock protein PER2 are detected in the cultured suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of neonatal Cry1 and Cry2 double deficient (Cry1 (-/-)/Cry2 (-/-)) mice. A lack of circadian rhythms in adult Cry1 (-/-)/Cry2 (-/-) mice is most likely due to developmentally disorganized cellular coupling of oscillating neurons in the SCN. On the other hand, neonatal rats exposed to constant light (LL) developed a tenable circadian system under prolonged LL which was known to fragment circadian behavioral rhythms. In the present study, Cry1 (-/-)/Cry2 (-/-) mice were raised under LL from postnatal day 1 for 7 weeks and subsequently exposed to DD for 3 weeks. Spontaneous movement was monitored continuously after weaning and PER2::LUC was measured in the cultured SCN obtained from mice under prolonged DD. Surprisingly, Chi square periodogram analysis revealed significant circadian rhythms of spontaneous movement in the LL-raised Cry1 (-/-)/Cry2 (-/-) mice, but failed to detect the rhythms in Cry1 (-/-)/Cry2 (-/-) mice raised under light-dark cycles (LD). By contrast, prolonged LL in adulthood did not rescue the circadian behavioral rhythms in the LD raised Cry1 (-/-)/Cry2 (-/-) mice. Visual inspection disclosed two distinct activity components with different periods in behavioral rhythms of the LL-raised Cry1(-/-)/Cry2(-/-) mice under DD: one was shorter and the other was longer than 24 hours. The two components repeatedly merged and separated. The patterns resembled the split behavioral rhythms of wild type mice under prolonged LL. In addition, circadian rhythms in PER2::LUC were detected in some of the LL-raised Cry1(-/-)/Cry2(-/-) mice under DD. These results indicate that neonatal exposure to LL compensates the CRY double deficiency for the disruption of circadian behavioral rhythms under DD in adulthood.