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Intrinsic Clocks

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Front. Neurol. | doi: 10.3389/fneur.2017.00614

Control of rest:activity by a dopaminergic ultradian oscillator and the circadian clock

  • 1Integrated Program in Neuroscience, McGill University, Canada
  • 2Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Canada
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Canada

There is long-standing evidence for rhythms in locomotor activity, as well as various other aspects of physiology, with periods substantially shorter than 24hrs in organisms ranging from fruit flies to humans. These ultradian oscillations, whose periods frequently fall between 2 to 6hrs, are normally well integrated with circadian rhythms, however they often lack the period stability and expression robustness of the latter. An adaptive advantage of ultradian rhythms has been clearly demonstrated for the common vole, suggesting that they may have evolved to confer social synchrony. The cellular substrate and mechanism of ultradian rhythm generation have remained elusive so far, however recent findings – the subject of this review- now indicate that ultradian locomotor rhythms rely on an oscillator based on dopamine, dubbed the dopaminergic ultradian oscillator (DUO). These findings also reveal that the DUO period can be lengthened from <4 to >48hrs by methamphetamine treatment, suggesting that the previously described methamphetamine-sensitive (circadian) oscillator (MASCO) represents a long-period manifestation of the DUO.

Keywords: Dopaminergic Ultradian Oscillator, Biological rhythms, Circadian clock, dopamine transporter, Rest:activity

Received: 02 Feb 2017; Accepted: 03 Nov 2017.

Edited by:

Timo Partonen, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland

Reviewed by:

Susanne E. La Fleur, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Alex `. Proekt, University of Pennsylvania, United States  

Copyright: © 2017 Bourguignon and Storch. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Kai-Florian Storch, McGill University, Department of Psychiatry, Montréal, Québec, Canada,