Background: All living organisms experience physiological changes regulated by endogenous circadian rhythms. The main factor controlling the circadian clock is the duration of daylight. The aim of this research was to identify the impact of various lighting conditions on physiological parameters and gut microbiota composition in rats. 3 groups of outbred rats were subjected to normal light-dark cycles, darkness and constant lighting.
Results: After 1 and 3 months we studied urinary catecholamine levels in rats; indicators of lipid peroxidation and antioxidant activity in the blood; protein levels of BMAL1, CLOCK and THRA in the hypothalamus; composition and functional activity of the gut microbiota. Subjecting the rats to conditions promoting desynchronosis for 3 months caused disruptions in homeostasis.
Conclusions: Changing the lighting conditions led to changes in almost all the physiological parameters that we studied. Catecholamines can be regarded as a synchronization super system of split-level circadian oscillators. We established a correlation between hypothalamic levels of Bmal1 and urinary catecholamine concentrations. The magnitude of changes in the GM taxonomic composition was different for LL/LD and DD/LD but the direction of these changes was similar. As for the predicted functional properties of the GM which characterize its metabolic activity, they didn't change as dramatically as the taxonomic composition. All differences may be viewed as a compensatory reaction to new environmental conditions and the organism has adapted to those conditions.
Keywords: Antioxidant system; Biological rhythms; Catecholamines; Circadian clock; Desynchronosis; Gut microbiota; Protein expression; Rats.