Author(s): GranadosFuentes D, BenJosef G, Perry G, Wilson DA, SullivanWilson A,
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Abstract The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) regulates a wide range of daily behaviors and has been described as the master circadian pacemaker. The role of daily rhythmicity in other tissues, however, is unknown. We hypothesized that circadian changes in olfactory discrimination depend on a genetic circadian oscillator outside the SCN. We developed an automated assay to monitor olfactory discrimination in individual mice throughout the day. We found olfactory sensitivity increased approximately 6-fold from a minimum during the day to a peak in the early night. This circadian rhythm was maintained in SCN-lesioned mice and mice deficient for the Npas2 gene but was lost in mice lacking Bmal1 or both Per1 and Per2 genes. We conclude that daily rhythms in olfactory sensitivity depend on the expression of canonical clock genes. Olfaction is, thus, the first circadian behavior that is not based on locomotor activity and does not require the SCN.
This article was published in J Biol Rhythms
and referenced in Journal of Neurology & Neurophysiology