Morning and evening circadian oscillations in the suprachiasmatic nucleus in vitro

Nat Neurosci. 2000 Apr;3(4):372-6. doi: 10.1038/73943.


Daily biological rhythms are governed by an innate timekeeping mechanism, or 'circadian clock'. In mammals, a clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) comprises multiple autonomous single-cell oscillators, but it is unclear how SCN cells interact to form a tissue with coherent metabolic and electrical rhythms that might account for circadian animal behaviors. Here we demonstrate that the circadian rhythm of SCN electrophysiological activity, recorded as a single daytime peak in hamster hypothalamic coronal slices, shows two distinct peaks when slices are cut in the horizontal plane. Substantiating an idea initially derived from behavioral observations, the properties of these two peaks indicate functional organization of SCN tissue as a clock with two oscillating components.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Cricetinae
  • Electrophysiology
  • Lighting
  • Male
  • Mesocricetus
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / physiology*