Circadian Activity Rhythm of the Deer Mouse, Peromyscus: Effect of Deuterium Oxide

Science  31 May 1968:
Vol. 160, Issue 3831, pp. 1011-1014
DOI: 10.1126/science.160.3831.1011


Chemical modification of a vertebrate activity rhythm, the circadian (approximately 24-hour) rhythm of Peromyscus leucopus noveboracensis, has been demonstrated. Activity in a running wheel was used to measure the rhythms of mice kept individually in conditions of continuous darkness. Deuterium oxide was presented in the drinking water. The length of the periods of rhythm increased directly and linearly with the increase in concentration of deuterium oxide. There is no threshold for this effect, and the maximum concentration of deuterium oxide (30 percent) that was presented resulted in a 6 percent lengthening of the period of circadian rhythm. The mice reverted to rhythms similar in period length to control values after deuterium oxide was withdrawn from their drinking water.