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Journal of Neural Transplantation and Plasticity
Volume 4, Issue 4, Pages 239-256

Factors Determining the Restoration of Circadian Behavior by Hypothalamic Transplants

1Departments of Biology and Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22901, USA
2Department of Biology and Center for Biological Timing, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22901, USA

Copyright © 1993 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The expression of locomotor activity by golden hamsters is temporally controlled by circadian oscillators contained within the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). A genetic mutation has been found that alters the freerunning period of the locomotor activity rhythm from the wild-type value of ~24 hours to ~20 hours in homozygous mutants. It has been shown previously that a transplant of fetal hypothalamic tissue containing the SCN to a host rendered arrhythmic by a complete lesion of the SCN restores rhythmicity with the freerunning period which is normally expressed by the donor genotype. To investigate the mechanisms by which the SCN controls the temporal organization of behavior, we made partial lesions to the SCN of hosts of one genotype, and then placed hypothalamic implants from fetal donors of a different genotype into the lesion site. By varying the size of the host's partial SCN lesion and the duration of time between lesioning and transplantation, we have attempted to alter the relative amount of host and donor control over the expression of locomotor activity. We found that the expression of donor rhythmicity requires the presence of a lesion to the host SCN, and that the incidence of donor expression increased as a function of host SCN lesion size. Neither the duration of time between lesioning and transplantation, nor the location of the transplant within the third ventricle had independent effects on the incidence of donor rhythm expression; however, there was a strong suggestion of an effect of their interaction.