Chronic Circadian Misalignment without Circadian Arrhythmicity or Sleep Deprivation Does Not Impair Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis

Phan Q. Duy, Samer Hattar

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter


Artificial light in modern society has led to the ubiquity of light exposure at night as individuals work night shifts and use light-emitting electronic devices before bedtime. These aberrant light conditions have detrimental consequences on cognitive and mental health, compelling the need to understand the mechanisms by which light affects brain functions. Although it was believed that aberrant light impairs health by first disrupting circadian rhythms and sleep, we showed that chronic exposure to a light cycle termed T7 (3.5 h of darkness, 3.5 h of light) caused mood and learning dysfunction in adult mice independent of sleep deprivation or circadian arrhythmicity, suggesting the direct effects of aberrant light on brain function. However, the mechanisms by which light directly causes mood and learning dysfunction remain poorly understood. In this study, we sought to determine whether exposure to the T7 cycle disrupts adult hippocampal neurogenesis, given that suppressed neurogenesis has been correlated with mood and learning dysfunction. After exposing adult mice to the T7 light cycle, we analyzed adult hippocampal neurogenesis by examining cellular proliferation and number of adult-born neurons. Contrary to our hypothesis that T7 would suppress neurogenesis, we found that adult mice exposed to 2 or 10 weeks of the T7 light cycle did not exhibit deficits in hippocampal neurogenesis. Our findings suggest that the direct effects of light on mood and learning do not depend on adult hippocampal neurogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-626
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Rhythms
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2017



  • hippocampus
  • learning
  • light
  • mood
  • neurogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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