Scheduled feeding versus the light-dark cycle on the rhythms of circulating tryptophan, serotonin and N-acetylserotonin in rats
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Both the environmental light-dark cycle and scheduled feeding can act as entrainers of biological rhythms. The present study investigated the relative potency of these two environmental cues in entraining the rhythms of circulating tryptophan (TRP), serotonin (5HT) and N-acetylserotonin (NAS). Four groups of rats were subjected for one month to an identical light-dark cycle of 14 h light and 10 h dark with food availability restricted to the 3 h period beginning 2 h after onset of light or onset of darkness. Two groups of animals were food deprived on the day of experiment. The 24 h rhythms of serum TRP, 5HT and NAS were determined. Serum TRP showed a sharp increase after food presentation and declined gradually to a trough just before feeding. Withholding food on the day of experiment abolished this increase. The trough of serum 5HT occurred just before feeding, increased gradually after feeding and peaked 10-13 h afterwards. Serum NAS levels, however, demonstrated an anticipatory rise before feeding, which peaked during feeding and declined to a trough 8 h afterwards. Unlike TRP, withholding food had no effect on either the 5HT or the NAS rhythm. These results indicated that feeding schedule was the common and stronger entrainer for the rhythms of serum TRP, 5HT and NAS. However, each indole had a different rhythm pattern in relation to the feeding schedule which could not be explained by a simple precursor-product relationship.
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