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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The central and basolateral nuclei of the amygdala exhibit opposite diurnal rhythms of expression of the clock protein Period2.

There is considerable evidence that circadian rhythms in mammals can be modulated by emotional state, but how emotional state modulates specific circadian outputs is poorly understood. We analyzed the expression of the circadian clock protein Period2 (PER2) in three regions of the limbic forebrain known to play key roles in emotional regulation, the central nucleus of the amygdala ( CEA), the basolateral amygdala (BLA), and the dentate gyrus (DG). We report here that cells in all three regions exhibit daily rhythms in expression of PER2 that are under the control of the master clock, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). The rhythm in the CEA and the rhythms in the BLA and DG are diametrically opposite in phase and are differentially affected by adrenalectomy. Adrenalectomy completely abolished the PER2 rhythm in the CEA but had no effect on the PER2 rhythms in the BLA and DG. We previously reported a rhythm in PER2 expression in the oval nucleus of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis that is identical in phase and sensitivity to adrenalectomy to that found in the CEA. Together, these findings show that key structures of the limbic forebrain exhibit daily oscillations in clock gene expression that are controlled not only by input from the SCN but, importantly, by hormonal and neurochemical changes that normally accompany motivational and emotional states. Thus, cells within these areas are strategically positioned to integrate the inputs from the SCN and emotional states to modulate circadian rhythms downstream from the SCN clock.[1]


  1. The central and basolateral nuclei of the amygdala exhibit opposite diurnal rhythms of expression of the clock protein Period2. Lamont, E.W., Robinson, B., Stewart, J., Amir, S. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2005) [Pubmed]
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