Effects of induced wheel running on the circadian activity rhythms of Syrian hamsters: entrainment and phase response curve

J Biol Rhythms. Spring 1989;4(1):39-48. doi: 10.1177/074873048900400103.


The goal of this study was to provide an example of nonsocial and nonphotic entrainment in Syrian hamsters, together with a corresponding phase response curve (PRC). Fourteen male hamsters were given 2-hr bouts of induced activity (mostly wheel running) at 23.83-hr intervals in constant darkness (DD). The activity onsets of 10 hamsters entrained to this manipulation, with no anticipatory activity present. After entrainment, the rhythms resumed free-running from a time 0.66-3.91 hr after the onset of the last bout of induced activity. Postentrainment free-running periods were shorter than pre-entrainment values. The PRC for 2-hr pulses of induced activity in DD revealed phase advances induced in some animals between circadian time (CT) 4 and CT 11 (approximately the last half of the hamsters' rest period), and delays between CT 23 and CT 3 and between CT 17 and CT 20. The CTs for phase advances are compatible with the phase angle differences observed between rhythm and zeitgeber at the end of entrainment. Many features of the results (not all animals entraining, PRC characteristics, lack of observable anticipation to the daily stimuli, phase relationship between zeitgeber and activity rhythms) are similar to those from a previous study on social entrainment in this species (Mrosovsky, 1988). These similarities reinforce the idea that induced activity and social zeitgebers act on activity rhythms via a common mechanism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Cricetinae
  • Male
  • Mesocricetus
  • Motor Activity / physiology*