The circadian photopigment melanopsin is expressed in the blind subterranean mole rat, Spalax

Jens Hannibal, Peter Hindersson, Eviatar Nevo, Jan Fahrenkrug

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite severe degeneration of its eyes, the blind subterranean mole rat, Spalax, is able to adjust circadian rhythms to the environmental light/dark cycle due to a conserved retinohypothalamic tract (RHT). The photopigment mediating the circadian photoreception and it cellular localisation is unknown in the Spalax retina. Here we show, using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, that melanopsin, a recently identified opsin, is expressed in retinal ganglion cells which also co-store PACAP, a neurotransmitter of the RHT. The melanopsin-component of retinal ganglion cells in the Spalax retina is well conserved resulting in a relatively higher density of melanopsin positive cells per area compared to the rat. The results show that the Spalax, as sighted animals expresses melanopsin in ganglion cells projecting to the circadian clock supporting a role of melanopsin as a circadian photopigment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1411-1414
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroReport
Volume13
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 7 Aug 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Circadian rhythm
  • Light entrainment
  • PACAP
  • Retinohypothalamic tract
  • Spalax judaei
  • Suprachiasmatic nucleus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)

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