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Attenuated effect of increased daylength on activity (...)

Exp Gerontol. 2007 Nov ;42(11):1079-87
Attenuated effect of increased daylength on activity rhythm in the old mouse lemur, a non-human primate.
Aujard F, Cayetanot F, Terrien J, Van Someren EJ.

Adaptation of physiological and behavioral functions to seasonal changes in daylength is of major relevance for optimal fitness and survival. Because aging is characterized by changes in biological rhythms, it may be hypothesized that old animals fall short of showing a full adaptation to prolonged changes in the duration of daily light exposure, as naturally occurring in relation to season in younger individuals. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed changes in the patterns of daily locomotor activity and body temperature rhythms of young and old mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus, Primates) exposed to short and long daylengths. The effect of an increase in the duration of daily light exposure was attenuated in old animals, as compared to younger lemurs. Although some age-related differences in the locomotor activity rhythm could be seen under exposure to short daylength, they were predominant under long daylength. Some mechanisms allowing adaptation to changing daylength thus seem to be impaired at old age. Changes in coupling of circadian oscillators to the light-dark cycle and disturbances in the physiological responses to change in light duration should be further investigated.


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