Light is a potent biologic force that profoundly influences circadian, neuroendocrine, and neurobehavioral regulation in animals. Previously we examined the effects of light-phase exposure of rats to white light-emitting diodes (LED), which emit more light in the blue-appearing portion of the visible spectrum (465 to 485 nm) than do broad-spectrum cool white fluorescent (CWF) light, on the nighttime melatonin amplitude and circadian regulation of metabolism and physiology. In the current studies, we tested the hypothesis that exposure to blue-enriched LED light at day (bLAD), compared with CWF, promotes the circadian regulation of neuroendocrine, metabolic, and physiologic parameters that are associated with optimizing homeostatic regulation of health and wellbeing in 3 mouse strains commonly used in biomedical research (C3H [melatonin-producing], C57BL/6, and BALB/c [melatonin-non-producing]). Compared with male and female mice housed for 12 wk under 12:12-h light:dark (LD) cycles in CWF light, C3H mice in bLAD evinced 6-fold higher peak plasma melatonin levels at the middark phase; in addition, high melatonin levels were prolonged 2 to 3 h into the light phase. C57BL/6 and BALB/c strains did not produce nighttime pineal melatonin. Body growth rates; dietary and water intakes; circadian rhythms of arterial blood corticosterone, insulin, leptin, glucose, and lactic acid; pO₂ and pCO₂; fatty acids; and metabolic indicators (cAMP, DNA, tissue DNA 3H-thymidine incorporation, fat content) in major organ systems were significantly lower and activation of major metabolic signaling pathways (mTOR, GSK3β, and SIRT1) in skeletal muscle and liver were higher only in C3H mice in bLAD compared with CWF. These data show that exposure of C3H mice to bLAD compared with CWF has a marked positive effect on the circadian regulation of neuroendocrine, metabolic, and physiologic parameters associated with the promotion of animal health and wellbeing that may influence scientific outcomes. The absence of enhancement in amelatonic strains suggests hyperproduction of nighttime melatonin may be a key component of the physiology.
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