Simulated Chronic Jet Lag Affects the Structural and Functional Complexity of Hippocampal Neurons in Mice

Neuroscience. 2024 Apr 5:543:1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2024.01.026. Epub 2024 Feb 13.


There has been a long history that chronic circadian disruption such as jet lag or shift work negatively affects brain and body physiology. Studies have shown that circadian misalignment act as a risk factor for developing anxiety and mood-related depression-like behavior. Till date, most studies focused on simulating jet lag in model animals under laboratory conditions by repeated phase advances or phase delay only, while the real-life conditions may differ. In the present study, adult male mice were subjected to simulated chronic jet lag (CJL) by alternately advancing and delaying the ambient light-dark (LD) cycle by 9 h every 2 days, thereby covering a total of 24 days. The effect of CJL was then examined for a range of stress and depression-related behavioral and physiological responses. The results showed that mice exposed to CJL exhibited depression-like behavior, such as anhedonia. In the open field and elevated plus maze test, CJL-exposed mice showed increased anxiety behavior compared to LD control. In addition, CJL-exposed mice showed an increased level of serum corticosterone and proinflammatory cytokine, TNF-α in both serum and hippocampus. Moreover, CJL-exposed mice exhibited a reduction in structural complexity of hippocampal CA1 neurons along with decreased expression of neurotrophic growth factors, BDNF and NGF in the hippocampus compared to LD control. Taken together, our findings suggest that simulated chronic jet lag adversely affects structural and functional complexity in hippocampal neurons along with interrelated endocrine and inflammatory responses, ultimately leading to stress, anxiety, and depression-like behavior in mice.

Keywords: anxiety; circadian rhythm; hippocampus; jet lag; neurotrophic growth factors.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm* / physiology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Jet Lag Syndrome* / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Photoperiod