Disruption of circadian rhythms, such as shift work and jet lag, are associated with negative physiological and behavioral outcomes, including changes in affective state, learning and memory, and cognitive function. The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is heavily involved in all of these processes. Many PFC-associated behaviors are time-of-day dependent, and disruption of daily rhythms negatively impacts these behavioral outputs. Yet how disruption of daily rhythms impacts the fundamental function of PFC neurons, and the mechanism(s) by which this occurs, remains unknown. Using a mouse model, we demonstrate that the activity and action potential dynamics of prelimbic PFC neurons are regulated by time-of-day in a sex specific manner. Further, we show that postsynaptic K+ channels play a central role in physiological rhythms, suggesting an intrinsic gating mechanism mediating physiological activity. Finally, we demonstrate that environmental circadian desynchronization alters the intrinsic functioning of these neurons independent of time-of-day. These key discoveries demonstrate that daily rhythms contribute to the mechanisms underlying the essential physiology of PFC circuits and provide potential mechanisms by which circadian disruption may impact the fundamental properties of neurons.
© 2023. The Author(s).