Recently, by utilizing conventional and tamoxifen inducible Bmal1 (Brain and muscle Arnt-like protein 1) knockout mice, we found that delaying the loss of circadian rhythms to adulthood attenuates the impact on general integrity and survival at least under 12h light/12h dark conditions (LD). To understand further the contribution of Bmal1 in post-natal life under conditions of circadian disruption, we subjected inducible knockout mice (KO) and their littermate controls (Ctrl) to forced desynchrony protocols including cycles with non-24h periods, randomized light/dark cycles, and jet lag, and monitored their locomotor activity using radiotelemetry. Under these conditions, control mice cannot be entrained, as reflected by their maintenance of circadian behavior irrespective of schedules. By contrast, KO mice displayed higher activity levels in the dark phases of most cycles. Under a 3h light/3h dark regime, Ctrls displayed higher activity levels in the dark phases of all cycles although there were still obvious circadian rhythms, suggesting that an ultradian mechanism is also involved. Insulin sensitivity was markedly reduced by disrupted light schedules as expected in Ctrls, but not in the KOs. Thus, Bmal1 deletion in adult mice facilitates adaptation to new light/dark schedules and protects from insulin resistance induced by circadian disruption.
Guangrui Yang, Lihong Chen, Jiayang Zhang, Baoyin Ren, Garret A. FitzGerald