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    In mammals, the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) constitute the main circadian clock, receiving input from the retina which allows synchronization of endogenous biological rhythms with the daily light/dark cycle. Over the year, the SCN encodes photoperiodic variations through duration of melatonin secretion, with abundant nocturnal levels in winter and lower levels in summer. Thus, light information is critical to regulate seasonal reproduction in many species and is part of the central photoperiodic integration. Since intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) are vital for circadian photoentrainment and other non-visual functions, we studied the contribution of ipRGCs in photoperiod integration in C3H retinal degeneration 1 (rd1) mice. We assessed locomotor activity and melatonin secretion in mice exposed to short or long photoperiods. Our results showed that rd1 mice are still responsive to photoperiod variations in term of locomotor activity, melatonin secretion and regulation of the reproductive axis. In addition, retinas of animals exposed to short photoperiod exhibit higher melanopsin labelling intensity compared to the long photoperiod condition, suggesting seasonal-dependent changes within this photoreceptive system. These results show that ipRGCs in rd1 mice can still measure photoperiod and suggest a key role of melanopsin cells in photoperiod integration and the regulation of seasonal physiology. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


    Bastien Leclercq, David Hicks, Virginie Laurent. Photoperiod integration in C3H rd1 mice. Journal of pineal research. 2020 Dec 16:e12711

    PMID: 33326640

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