Circadian temperature and wake rhythms of rats exposed to prolonged continuous illumination

Physiol Behav. 1983 Oct;31(4):417-27. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(83)90061-6.


The purpose of this study was to simultaneously measure temperature and sleep in the rat under continuous illumination in an attempt to reveal properties of the underlying circadian oscillators. At first, the circadian rhythms of temperature and wake free-ran in parallel. Within weeks or months, circadian arrhythmicity developed in most animals. Both circadian rhythms eventually damped out, even at fairly low light intensities. The circadian rhythm of wake was weaker and disintegrated sooner than the circadian rhythm of temperature. Although the data did not rule out control by separate circadian oscillators, one for temperature and one for wake, a single oscillator model was sufficient to explain this phenomenon. Ultradian variations with a period of about 2-5 hr were superimposed upon the circadian rhythms. When the circadian rhythms damped out, the ultradian variations remained. The ultradian bursts of wake preceded the ultradian bursts of temperature, suggesting a causal relationship. On the other hand, the circadian rhythm of temperature could not be dependent on the circadian rhythm of wakefulness, because the temperature rhythm could persist while the wake rhythm was absent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Temperature Regulation
  • Body Temperature*
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Light
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Wakefulness / physiology*