Diurnal rhythm of the pituitary-adrenocortical response to stress: effect of constant light and constant darkness.

Abstract

The existence of a biological rhythm in the response of animals to noxious stimuli and drugs is well known. However, the mechanism of this response is not well understood. This study was undertaken to describe the existence of a diurnal rhythm in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical system before and after stress in female rats kept in controlled environmental conditions in 12L:12D, 24L:OD, or OL:24D. Plasma ACTH and plasma corticosterone concentrations were compared in unstressed animals. The time pattern in the response to stress was determined at four hourly intervals during a 24 hr period in which plasma ACTH and plasma corticosterone were measured at different time intervals. The stress response varied considerably with time of day in both magnitude and duration. The adrenals of rats exposed to constant light for 45 days atrophied, whereas the adrenals of animals kept in constant dark for the same period did not differ significantly from those of controls kept in 12L:12D. The increase in plasma ACTH in response to stress was greater both in the animals maintained in constant light and in constant dark than in the 12L:12D controls. Homeostatic mechanisms involved in these changes are discussed.

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@article{VernikosDanellis1970DiurnalRO, title={Diurnal rhythm of the pituitary-adrenocortical response to stress: effect of constant light and constant darkness.}, author={Joan Vernikos-Danellis and C . M . Winget and Nathan Hetherington}, journal={Life sciences and space research}, year={1970}, volume={8}, pages={240-6} }