Forced desynchronization model for a diurnal primate

<p>The circadian system is organized in a hierarchy of multiple oscillators, with the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) as the master oscillator in mammals. The SCN is formed by a group of coupled cell oscillators. Knowledge of this coupling mechanism is essential to understanding entrainment and the expression of circadian rhythms. Some authors suggest that light-dark (LD) cycles with periods near the limit of entrainment may be good models for promoting internal desynchronization, providing knowledge about the coupling mechanism. As such, we evaluated the circadian activity rhythm (CAR) pattern of marmosets in LD cycles at lower limits of entrainment in order to study induced internal dissociation. To that end, two experiments were conducted: (1) 6 adult females were under symmetrical LD cycles T21, T22 and T21.5 for 60, 35 and 48 days, respectively; and (2) 4 male and 4 female adults were under T21 for 24 days followed by 18 days of LL, back to T21 for 24 days, followed by 14 days of LL. The CAR of each animal was continuously recorded. In experiment 1, vocalizations were also recorded. Under <i>T</i>s shorter than 24 days, a dissociation pattern was observed for CAR and vocalizations. Two simultaneous circadian components emerged, one with the same period as the LD cycle, called the light-entrained component, and the other in free-running, denominated the non-light-entrained component. Both components were displayed in the CAR for all the animals in T21, five animals (83.3%) in T21.5 and two animals (33.3%) in T22. Our results are in accordance with the multioscillatory nature of the circadian system. Dissociation is partial synchronization to the LD cycle, with at least one group of oscillators synchronized by relative coordination and masking, while another group of oscillators free runs, but is also masked by the LD cycle. Since only T21 promoted the emergence of both circadian components in the circadian rhythms of all marmosets, it was considered the promoter period of circadian rhythm dissociation in this species, and is proposed as a good animal model for forced desynchronization in non-human diurnal primates.</p>