Involvement of the pineal gland in daily scheduling of the golden spiny mouse

Nava Zisapel, Eylon Barnea, Yossi Anis, Ido Izhaki, Russel J. Reiter, Abraham Haim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The light-dark cycle is the major time cue for daily and seasonal scheduling of physiological activities. However, non-photic cues (e.g. environmental and social constraints) may also play a significant role. A natural model exists in the golden spiny mouse (Acomys russatus) which is nocturnal when maintained alone but diurnal when sharing a habitat with its congener, the common spiny mouse (A. cahirimus,). We have recently observed that the presence of A. cahirinus provokes a major change in the dally rhythms of body temperature (T(b)), and urine volume without affecting the melatonin rhythm and photoperiod-induced responses. The apparent lack of interaction between the daily and photoperiodic scheduling was further investigated by studying the significance of the pineal to the modification of A. russatus daily rhythms induced by the presence of A. cahirinus. Lesion of A. russatus pineal gland resulted in diminution of urinary 6- sulfatoxymelatonin (6SMT) and modification of T(b) and urine volume rhythms. However, the modification of T(b) and urine volume rhythms provoked by the presence of A. cahirinus were similar in pined lesioned and sham-operated A. russatus. The nonphotic signals released by A. cahirinus did not significantly affect glucose utilization in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of pineal- as well as sham-lesioned A. russatus. Thus, the modification of the daily scheduling of A. russatus by the photoperiod involves the pineal and/or the melatonin rhythm whereas non-photic cues effect a direct (perhaps masking), pineal-independent response to the competitor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-757
Number of pages7
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - 24 Aug 1998


  • 6-sulfatoxymelatonin
  • Acomys cahirinus
  • Acomys russatus
  • Body temperature
  • Circadian rhythms
  • Melatonin
  • Non-photic signals
  • Pineal gland
  • Rodent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (all)


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