Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Vincent Cassone


Circadian clocks are responsible for daily rhythms in gastrointestinal function which are vital for normal digestive rhythms and health. The present study examines the roles of the circadian pacemaker, the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), and the sympathetic nervous system in regulation of circadian gastrointestinal rhythms in Mus musculus. Surgical ablation of the SCN abolishes circadian locomotor, feeding, and stool output rhythms when animals are presented with food ad libitum, while restricted feeding reestablishes these rhythms temporarily. In intact mice, chemical sympathectomy with 6- hydroxydopamine has no effect on feeding and locomotor rhythmicity, but attenuates stool output rhythms. Again, restricted feeding reestablishes these rhythms. Ex vivo, intestinal tissue from mPer2LUC knockin mice expresses circadian rhythms of luciferase bioluminescence. 6-hydroxydopamine has little effect upon these rhythms, but timed administration of β−adrenergic agonist isoproterenol causes a phase-dependent phase shift in PERIOD2 expression rhythms. Collectively, the data suggest the SCN are required to maintain feeding, locomotor and stool output rhythms during ad libitum conditions, acting at least in part through daily activation of sympathetic activity. Even so, this input is not necessary for entrainment to timed feeding, which may be the province of oscillators within the intestines themselves or other components of the gastrointestinal system.

Included in

Biology Commons