Fetal grafts containing suprachiasmatic nuclei restore the diurnal rhythm of CRH and POMC mRNA in aging rats

Am J Physiol. 1997 Nov;273(5):R1764-70. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.1997.273.5.R1764.


We assessed whether fetal tissue containing the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) can restore age-related changes in the diurnal rhythm of hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and anterior pituitary proopiomelanocortin (POMC) mRNA. Young, middle-aged, and middle-aged SCN-transplanted rats were killed at seven times of day. In young rats, CRH mRNA exhibited a diurnal rhythm in the dorsomedial paraventricular nuclei but not in other subdivisions of the nuclei. No rhythm was detected in aging rats. SCN transplants restored a rhythm in CRH mRNA, but the timing was not precisely the same as in young animals. POMC mRNA exhibited a daily rhythm in young rats. Aging abolished the rhythm and decreased the average mRNA level; fetal transplants restored the rhythm, but the amplitude remained attenuated. These data are the first demonstration that fetal tissue can restore the diurnal rhythm of a neuroendocrine axis that is driven by the SCN. We conclude that the neuroendocrine substrate from the aging host remains capable of responding to diurnal cues to express diurnal rhythmicity in CRH/POMC mRNA when fetal SCN transplants confer the appropriate signals.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / biosynthesis*
  • Female
  • Fetal Tissue Transplantation / physiology*
  • Hypothalamus / growth & development
  • Hypothalamus / physiology*
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus / growth & development
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus / physiology
  • Pituitary Gland, Anterior / growth & development
  • Pituitary Gland, Anterior / physiology*
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin / biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / physiology
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / transplantation*
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone