Title

Orexin (hypocretin) mediates light-dependent fluctuation of hippocampal function in a diurnal rodent

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Environmental lighting conditions play a central role in cognitive function, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Utilizing a diurnal rodent model, the Nile grass rat (Arvicanthis niloticus), we previously found that daytime light intensity affects hippocampal function in this species in a manner similar to its effects in humans. Compared to animals housed in a 12:12 h bright light–dark (brLD) cycle, grass rats kept in a 12:12 h dim light–dark (dimLD) cycle showed impaired spatial memory in the Morris water maze (MWM) and reduced CA1 apical dendritic spine density. The present study explored the neural substrates mediating the effects of daylight intensity on hippocampal function focusing on the hypothalamic orexin (hypocretin) system. First, animals housed in dimLD were treated with daily intranasal administration of orexin A peptide over five training days of the MWM task. Compared to vehicle controls, this treatment led to superior spatial memory accompanied by increased phosphorylation of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II α and glutamate receptor 1 within the CA1. To assess the role of hippocampal orexinergic signaling, an adeno-associated viral vector (AAV) expressing an orexin receptor 1 (OX1R) shRNA was injected into the dorsal hippocampus targeting the CA1 of animals housed in brLD. AAV-mediated knockdown of OX1R within the hippocampus resulted in deficits in MWM performance and reduced CA1 apical dendritic spine density. These results are consistent with the view that the hypothalamic orexinergic system underlies the modulatory role of daytime illumination on hippocampal function in diurnal mammals.

Keywords

diurnal rodent, hippocampal function, light intensity, orexin/hypocretin

Publication Date

10-1-2021

Publication Title

Hippocampus

ISSN

10509631

E-ISSN

10981063

Volume

31

Issue

10

First Page

1104

Last Page

1114

PubMed ID

34263969

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1002/hipo.23376

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