Background: Circadian rhythms of physiology and behavior are driven by a circadian clock located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus. This clock is synchronized to environmental day/night cycles by photic input, which is dependent on the presence of mature brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the SCN. Mature BDNF is produced by the enzyme plasmin, which is converted from plasminogen by the enzyme tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA). In this study, we evaluate circadian function in mice lacking functional tPA.
Results: tPA-/- mice have normal circadian periods, but show decreased nocturnal wheel-running activity. This difference is eliminated or reversed on the second day of a 48-h fast. Similarly, when placed on daily cycles of restricted food availability the genotypic difference in total wheel-running activity disappears, and tPA-/- mice show equivalent amounts of food anticipatory activity to wild type mice.
Conclusions: These data suggest that tPA regulates nocturnal wheel-running activity, and that tPA differentially affects SCN-driven nocturnal activity rhythms and activity driven by fasting or temporal food restriction.
Keywords: Circadian; Food anticipatory activity; Wheel-running.