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The online version of this article (https://doi.org/10.1186/s12899-018-0036-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Circadian rhythms of physiology and behavior are driven by a circadian clock located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus. This clock is synchronized to environmental day/night cycles by photic input, which is dependent on the presence of mature brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the SCN. Mature BDNF is produced by the enzyme plasmin, which is converted from plasminogen by the enzyme tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA). In this study, we evaluate circadian function in mice lacking functional tPA.
tPA−/− mice have normal circadian periods, but show decreased nocturnal wheel-running activity. This difference is eliminated or reversed on the second day of a 48-h fast. Similarly, when placed on daily cycles of restricted food availability the genotypic difference in total wheel-running activity disappears, and tPA−/− mice show equivalent amounts of food anticipatory activity to wild type mice.
These data suggest that tPA regulates nocturnal wheel-running activity, and that tPA differentially affects SCN-driven nocturnal activity rhythms and activity driven by fasting or temporal food restriction.