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Animal Anatomy and Physiology

Biological Rhythms and Clocks
 Seasons of the year, phases of the moon, high and low tides, and alternation between night and day are examples of cyclic changes in the environment. Each presents a different set of challenges to the animals. For instance, day and night are two different environments that force animals to evolve two different sets of physiological and behavioral adaptations.  Homeostasis implies a relatively stable defense of a set-point value of a physiological parameter. Different times (of day, year etc.) demand different levels of physiological activity.    Rheostasis addresses the controlled change of a set-point. Almost every biochemical, physiological and behavioral function shows a daily cycle. Types of cycles: circadian (about a day), infradian (e.g., circalunar, circannual), and ultradian (e.g., circatidal, circahoral).  It is advantageous for animals to predict, and not merely react to changes in the environment. Geophysical cycles are highly predictable (in contrast with meteor hits), so organisms evolved timing mechanisms – biological clocks (and calendars). Thus, physiological and behavioral states are synchronized to the outside world.  Along with synchronization to the outside world, biological clocks also synchronize events within the body, e.g,. ensure that time of hormone release coincides with the time when the hormone receptor is available at the cell membrane of the target tissue, etc.  Another function of the biological clock is to put a time-stamp on memories. If an event happens to an animal that impacts its potential fitness, the animal will remember not only what happened and where, but also when.  Continuously Consulted Clocks are used for sun-compass orientation and navigation, e.g., in migratory birds and in honeybees (time-sense).    Diurnal rhythms – in daily environmental cycles. Circadian rhythms – in constant conditions. Monitoring an output of the clock (hands, not the gears) Entrainment – synchronization of the internal time to the external time. The cues from the environment are called Zeitgebers. Light-dark cycles are the most potent cues in almost all organisms. A variety of other cues, e.g., temperature cycles and social cues can entrain biological rhythms in animals in which it is an ecologically relevant cue.  Freerunning rhythms – expressed in constant conditions in complete isolation from all time cues. Biological rhythms are endogenous, i.e., generated by the organism itself and inherent (have a genetic basis).    Temperature compensation – the period of the freerunning rhythm is independent of temperature. Clocks are inherent – based on genetic/molecular mechanisms in the cell. Biological clocks behave like physical oscillators. Phase Response Curve (PRC) – a measure of responsiveness of the clock to environmental cues (Zeitgebers).  Almost every cell has a clock. Pacemakers are specialized tissues: - responsive to environmental cues

clocks in liver and GI tract shift slowly. via serotonin. centers for pupillary reflex and mood      Jet-lag: consequence of long-distance flights over multiple time zones Shift-lag: consequence of rotating work shifts Internal desynchronization. cancer Melatonin: indoleamine. e.g. role of circadian system iffy at best Circalunar and circatidal rhythms – very little known about the mechanism . retina and intestine at night. Secreted by pineal. makes melatonin pineal is not a pacemaker. also contains a clock.  Photoperiodism: measurement of daylength as a seasonal cue. SCN shifts fats. secretes melatonin rhythmically  Non-mammalian vertebrates: o o o o suprachiasmatic area often not sufficient pineal organ is the pacemaker in many animals retina is the pacemaker in some animals photoreception via eyes. Pacemakers in vertebrates: o o o suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) pineal organ retina  Mammals: o o o SCN is the only pacemaker retina is the only source of light information. heart attacks. protists. . optic lobes.cycle indefinitely in isolation Circadian organization: one or more pacemakers drive the rhythms in all other cells. but not during the day. o o mammals: clock measures duration of nightly melatonin release other animals: clock involved but not known how   Circannual rhythms: endogenous annual cycles. plants. Result: greater incidence of ulcers.o    send neural or chemical signals to other clocks. brain. Pacemakers in invertebrates: eyes. fungi and invertebrates.. Derivative of amino-acid tryptophan. pineal and extraretinal photoreceptors found deep inside the brain  Circadian photoreception in mammals: o o o o not through rods and cones about 1000 retinal ganglion cells photopigment melanopsin projections to SCN. Found also in bacteria.