Reentrainment Impairs Spatial Working Memory until Both Activity Onset and Offset Reentrain.
Journal of biological rhythms
2015; 30 (5): 408-416
Compression of the active phase (α) during reentrainment to phase-shifted light-dark (LD) cycles is a common feature of circadian systems, but its functional consequences have not been investigated. This study tested whether α compression in Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus) impaired their spatial working memory as assessed by spontaneous alternation (SA) behavior in a T-maze. Animals were exposed to a 1- or 3-h phase delay of the LD cycle (16 h light/8 h dark). SA behavior was tested at 4 multiday intervals after the phase shift, and α was quantified for those days. All animals failed at the SA task while α was decompressing but recovered spatial memory ability once α returned to baseline levels. A second experiment exposed hamsters to a 2-h light pulse either early or late at night to compress α without phase-shifting the LD cycle. SA behavior was impaired until α decompressed to baseline levels. In a third experiment, α was compressed by changing photoperiod (LD 16:8, 18:6, 20:4) to see if absolute differences in α were related to spatial memory ability. Animals performed the SA task successfully in all 3 photoperiods. These data show that the dynamic process of α compression and decompression impairs spatial working memory and suggests that α modulation is a potential biomarker for assessing the impact of transmeridian flight or shift work on memory.
View details for DOI 10.1177/0748730415596254
View details for PubMedID 26224657