Rapid Jetlag Resetting of Behavioral, Physiological, and Molecular Rhythms in Proestrous Female Mice

Violetta Pilorz*, Beke Kolms, Henrik Oster

*Corresponding author for this work


A gradual adaptation to a shifted light-dark (LD) cycle is a key element of the circadian clock system and believed to be controlled by the central circadian pacemaker, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Endocrine factors have a strong influence on the regulation of the circadian clock network and alter acute photic responses of the SCN clock. In females, endocrine function depends on the stage of the ovarian cycle. So far, however, little is known about the effect of the estrous cycle on behavioral and molecular responses to shifts in the LD rhythm. Based on this, we investigated whether estrous state affects the kinetics of phase shift during jetlag in behavior, physiology, and molecular clock rhythms in the SCN and in peripheral tissues. Female mice exposed to an advanced LD phase at proestrous or metestrous showed different phase-shift kinetics, with proestrous females displaying accelerated adaptation in behavior and physiology. Constant darkness release experiments suggest that these fast phase shifts do not reflect resetting of the SCN pacemaker. Explant experiments on SCN, adrenal gland, and uterus confirmed this finding with proestrous females showing significantly faster clock phase shifts in peripheral tissues compared with the SCN. Together, these findings provide strong evidence for an accelerated adaptation of proestrous compared with metestrous females to new LD conditions that is accompanied by rapid behavioral, physiological, and molecular rhythm resetting. Not only do these findings open up a new avenue to understand the effect of estrous cycle on the clock network under changing environmental conditions but also imply a greater susceptibility in proestrous females.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Biological Rhythms
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)612-627
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 12.2020

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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