Circadian Rhythms in Rats: Effects of Random Lighting

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Science  29 Apr 1966:
Vol. 152, Issue 3722, pp. 662-664
DOI: 10.1126/science.152.3722.662


Increase in body weight, spontaneous running activity, and adrenal cortical function have been studied in rats exposed to a random lighting schedule. In two separate experiments, grouped control animals were given 12 or 14 hours of light alternating with 12 or 10 hours of darkness, respectively, while coresponding grouped experimental animals were given the same total amounts of light and darkness per 24 hour period in a randomized pattern. Random light for periods of 17 to 40 days exerted no influence on growth rate, on weights of endocrine organs, or on adrenal response to adrenocorticotrophic hormone. However, the physiological fluctuation of group running activity and adrenal steroid secretion was abolished. Group desynchronization and the development of circadian rhythms having periods both shorter and longer than 24 hours appear to have replaced the synchronized group rhythmicity.