In four conscious chair acclimatized squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) studied with lights on (600 lx) from 0800 to 2000 h daily (LD 12:12), prominent 24 h rhythms in feeding, drinking, activity, body temperature, and urinary potassium, sodium, and water excretion were seen. When the monkeys were subjected to 36 h of darkness followed by 36 h of light each variable demonstrated a circadian rhythm which was not passively dependent on the light dark cycle. After the 24 h light dark cycle was abruptly phase delayed by 8 h, all the rhythms resynchronized with the new light dark cycle phase, demonstrating that light dark cycles are an effective zeitgeber. However, the resynchronization of the rhythms of feeding, drinking, activity, and body temperature was 90% complete within approximately 2 days while the 90% resynchronization of the urinary rhythms took approximately 5 days. These results suggest that the circadian timing system in S. sciureus may consist of several spontaneously oscillating units which can become transiently uncoupled during perturbations of environmental time cues.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)