The mammalian circadian system is controlled by a central oscillator located in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) of the hypothalamus, in which glia appears to play a prominent role. Gliomas originate from glial cells and are the primary brain tumors with the highest incidence and mortality. Optic pathway/hypothalamic gliomas account for 4-7% of all pediatric intracranial tumors. Given the anatomical location, which compromises both the circadian pacemaker and its photic input pathway, we decided to study whether the presence of gliomas in the hypothalamic region could alter circadian behavioral outputs. Athymic nude mice implanted with LN229 human glioma cells showed an increase in the endogenous period of the circadian clock, which was also less robust in terms of sustaining the free running period throughout 2 weeks of screening. We also found that implanted mice showed a slower resynchronization rate after an abrupt 6 h advance of the light-dark (LD) cycle, advanced phase angle, and a decreased direct effect of light in general activity (masking), indicating that hypothalamic tumors could also affect photic sensitivity of the circadian clock. Our work suggests that hypothalamic gliomas have a clear impact both on the endogenous pacemaking of the circadian system, as well as on the photic synchronization of the clock. These findings strongly suggest that the observation of altered circadian parameters in patients might be of relevance for glioma diagnosis.
Keywords: circadian; glioblastoma; glioma; suprachiasmatic.