Article| Volume 32, ISSUE 5, P411-425, September 01, 1992

Effects of hypothyroidism on rat circadian activity and temperature rhythms and their response to light

      This paper is only available as a PDF. To read, Please Download here.


      Male rats made hypothyroid by administration of propylthiouracil plus sodium ipodate in drinking water were compared to controls in terms of period of circadian activity and temperature rhythms, amount of gross motor activity, and mean temperature. Animals were studied under entrainment, constant darkness (DD), and constant dim light (LL). There was no difference in the period of the circadian activity rhythm between groups in DD. However, hypothyroid rats showed significant blunting of the period-lengthening response to increasing ambient illumination. As expected, the period of the circadian temperature rhythm increased in controls with increasing ambient illumination. In contrast, the period of the circadian temperature rhythm in hypothyroid animals actually shortened under LL compared to DD. This blunting of the period-lengthening response to increasing ambient illumination of both activity and temperature rhythms in hypothyroid animals could not be explained by differences in activity level or mean temperature between the groups.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Biological Psychiatry
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Abbott R.
        • O'Malley B.
        • Barnett D.
        • Timson L.
        • Rosenthal F.
        Central and peripheral nerve conduction in thyroid dysfunction: The influence of l-thyroxine therapy compared with warming upon the conduction abnormalities of primary hypothyroidism.
        Clin Science. 1983; 64: 617-622
        • Aschoff J.
        Circadian rhythms: Influences of internal and external factors on the period measured in constant conditions.
        Z Tierpsychologie. 1979; 49: 225-249
        • Bauer M.
        Intensity and precision of circadian wheel running in three outbred rat strains.
        Physiol Behav. 1990; 47: 397-401
        • Bauer M.
        Irradiance-responsivity and unequivocal type-1 phase responsivity of circadian wheel-running rhythms in hooded rats.
        Am J Physiol. 1992; (in press)
        • Bauer M.
        • Whybrow P.
        Thyroid hormones and the central nervous system in affective illness: interactions that may have clinical significance.
        Integr Psychiatry. 1988; 6: 75-100
        • Bauer M.
        • Poland R.
        • Whybrow P.
        • Frazer A.
        Pituitary-adrenal and thyroid effects on the content of melatonin in the pineal gland of the rat.
        Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1989; 14: 165-175
        • Bauer M.
        • Soloway A.
        • Dratman M.
        • Kreider M.
        • Whybrow P.
        Hypothyroidism blunts light-responsivity of rat circadian rhythms.
        Biol Psychiatry. 1991; 29: 115A
        • Bauer M.
        • Whybrow P.
        • Winokur A.
        Rapid cycling bipolar affective disorder, I: Association with grade I hypothyroidism.
        Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1990; 47: 427-432
        • Beasley L.
        • Nelson R.
        Thyroid gland influences the period of hamster circadian oscillations.
        Experentia. 1982; 38: 870-871
        • Biokowski C.
        • Aldhous M.
        • English J.
        • et al.
        Suppression of nocturnal plasma melatonin and 6-sulfatoxymelatonin by bright and dim light in man.
        Horm Metab Res. 1987; 19: 437-440
        • Boulakoud M.
        • Goldsmith A.
        Thyroxine treatment induces changes in hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormone characteristic of photorefractoriness in starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).
        Gen Comp Endocrinol. 1991; 82: 78-85
        • Cho J.
        • Bone S.
        • Dunner D.
        • Colt E.
        • Fieve R.
        The effect of lithium treatment on thyroid function in patients with primary affective disorder.
        Am J Psychiatry. 1979; 136: 115-116
        • Cooper R.
        • Scarratt D.
        • Talis R.
        • Van't Hoff W.
        Some neurophysiological and psychometric measurements in myxoedema.
        Electroencephal Clin Neurophysiol. 1977; 43: 464a
        • Cowdry R.
        • Wehr T.
        • Zis A.
        • Goodwin F.
        Thyroid abnormalities associated with rapid cycling bipolar illness.
        Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1983; 40: 414-420
        • Crantz F.
        • Silva J.
        • Larsen P.
        An analysis of the sources and quantify of 3,5,3′-triiodothyronine specifically bound to nuclear receptors in rat cerebral cortex and cerebellum.
        Endocrinology. 1982; 110: 367-375
        • Cummins M.
        • Berga S.
        • Cummins K.
        • et al.
        Light suppression of melatonin in unipolar depressed patients.
        Psychiatry Res. 1989; 27: 351-355
        • Dawson A.
        Pharmacologic doses of thyroxine simulate the effects of increased day length, and throidectomy, decreased day length on the reproductive system of European starlings.
        J Exp Zool. 1989; 249: 62-67
        • Dawson A.
        The involvement of thyroxine and day length in the development of photorefractoriness in European starlings.
        J Exp Zool. 1989; 249: 68-75
        • De Groot L.
        • Larsen P.
        • Refetoff S.
        • Stanbury J.
        The Thyroid and its Diseases.
        in: 5th Ed. Wiley, New York1984: 164-232
        • Dixon W.
        BMDP Statistical Software. vol. II. University of California Press, Berkley1985
        • Dratman M.
        • Crutchfield F.
        • Gordon Jennings A.
        • Jennings A.
        Iodothyronine homeostasis in rat brain during hypo-and hyperthyroidism.
        Am J Physiol. 1983; 245: E184-E189
        • Gibbs F.
        Temperature dependence of rat circadian pacemaker.
        Am J Physiol. 1981; 241: R17-R20
        • Gibbs F.
        Temperature dependence on the hamster circadian pacemaker.
        Am J Physiol. 1983; 244: R607-R610
        • Glass C.K.
        • Lipkin S.M.
        • Devary O.V.
        • Rosenfeld M.G.
        Positive and negative regulation of gene transcription by a retinoic acid-thyroid hormone receptor heterodimer.
        Cell. 1990; 59: 697
        • Lam R.
        • Beattie C.
        • Burchanan A.
        • Remick R.
        • Zis A.
        Low electroculographic ratios in patients with seasonal affective disorder.
        Am J Psychiatry. 1991; 148: 1526-1529
        • Lewy A.
        • Wehr T.
        • Goodwin F.
        • Newsome D.
        • Mackey S.
        Light suppresses melatonin secretion in humans.
        Science. 1980; 210: 1267-1269
        • Mastaglia F.
        • Black J.
        • Collins D.
        • Gutteridge D.
        • Yuen R.
        Slowing of conduction in visual pathway in hypothyroidism.
        Lancet. 1978; 1: 387-388
        • McEachron D.
        • Levine J.
        • Adler N.
        Evidence that the pacemaker controlling activity rhythms is shortened in male thyroparathyroidectomized (TPX) rats: Similarities to the effects of estradiol in females.
        Prog Clin Biol Res. 1990; 341B: 13-24
        • McIntyre I.
        • Norman T.
        • Burrows G.
        • Armstrong S.
        Human melatonin suppression by light is intensity dependent.
        J Pineal Res. 1989; 6: 149-156
        • Morin L.
        Propylthiouracil, but not other antithyroid treatments, lengthens hamster circadian period.
        Am J Physiol. 1988; 255: R1-R5
        • Morin L.
        • Fitzgerald K.
        • Zucker I.
        Estradiol shortens the period of hamster circadian rhythms.
        Science. 1979; 196: 305-307
        • Morin L.
        • Gavin M.
        • Ottenweller
        Propylthiouracil causes phase delays and circadian period lengthening in male and female hamsters.
        Am J Physiol. 1986; 250: R151-R160
        • Mrosovsky N.
        • Salmon P.
        A behavioral method for accelerating reentrainment of rhythms to new light-dark cycles.
        Nature. 1987; 330: 372-373
        • Oren D.
        • Joseph-Vanderpool J.
        • Rosenthal N.
        Adaptation to dim light in depressed patients with seasonal affective disorder.
        Psychiatry Res. 1991; 36: 187-193
        • Pittendrigh C.
        Circadian rhythms and the circadian organization of living systems.
        in: Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 25. 1960: 159-184
        • Pittendrigh C.
        • Daan S.
        A functional analysis of circadian pacemakers in rodents, V: A clock for all seasons.
        J Comp Physiol. 1976; 106: 333-355
        • Puig-Domingo M.
        • Guerrero J.-M.
        • Vaughan M.
        • Little J.
        • Reiter R.
        Activation of cerebrocortical type II 5′-deiodinase activity in syrian hamsters kept under short photoperiod and reduced ambient temperature.
        Brain Res Bull. 1989; 22: 975-979
        • Sack D.
        • Rosenthal N.
        • Parry B.
        • Wehr T.
        Biological rhythms in psychiatry.
        in: Meltzer H. Psychopharmacology: The Third Generation of Progress. Raven Press, New York1987: 686-699
        • Schreiber G.
        • Aldred A.R.
        • Jaworowski A.
        • Nilsson C.
        • Achen M.G.
        • Segal M.B.
        Thyroxine transport from blood to brain via transthyretin synthesis in choroid plexus.
        Am J Physiology. 1990; 258: R338-R345
        • Schull J.
        • McEachron D.
        • Adler N.
        • et al.
        Effects of thyroidectomy, parathyroidectomy and lithium on circadian wheelrunning in rats.
        Physiol Behav. 1988; 42: 33-39
        • Schull J.
        • Walker J.
        • Fitzgerald K.
        • et al.
        Effects of sex, thyro-parathyroidectomy, and light regimen on levels and circadian rhythms of wheel-running in rats.
        Physiol Behav. 1989; 46: 341-346
        • Seggie J.
        • Canny C.
        • Mai F.
        • McCrank E.
        • Waring E.
        Antidepressant medication reverses increased sensitivity to light in depression: Preliminary report.
        Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 1989; 13: 537-541
        • Summer T.
        • Ferraro J.
        • McCormack C.
        Phase response and Aschoff illuminance curves for the locomotor activity rhythm of the rat.
        Am J Physiol. 1984; 246: R299-R304
        • Tanaka K.
        • Murakami M.
        • Greer M.
        Type-II thyroxine 5′-deiodinase is present in the rat pineal gland.
        Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1986; 137: 863-865
        • Thompson C.
        • Stinson D.
        • Smith A.
        Seasonal affective disorder and season-dependent abnormalities of melatonin suppression by light.
        Lancet. 1990; 336: 703-706
        • Thompson E.
        • Lum L.
        A time-course study of hypothyroidism-induced hypotension: Its relation to hypothermia.
        Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther. 1986; 238: 141-152
        • Turek F.
        Effects of stimulated physical activity on the circadian pacemaker of vertebrates.
        J Biol Rhythms. 1989; 4: 135-147
        • Umesono K.
        • Giguere V.
        • Glass C.K.
        • Rosenfelf M.G.
        • Evans R.M.
        Retinoic acid and thyroid hormone induce gene expression through a common responsive element.
        Nature. 1988; 336: 262-265
        • Wehr T.
        Causes and treatments of rapid cycling affective disorder.
        in: Amsterdam J. Antidepressant Therapies: Applications for the Outpatient Practitioner. Marcel Dekker, New York1991
        • Wehr T.
        • Goodwin F.
        • Wirz-Justice A.
        • Breitmaier J.
        • Craig C.
        48-hour sleep-wake cycles in manic-depressive illness: Naturalistic observations and sleep deprivation experiments.
        Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1982; 39: 559-565
        • Wever R.
        Order and disorder in human circadian rhythmicity: possible relations to mental disorders.
        in: Kupfer D. Monk T. Barchas J. Biological Rhythms and Mental Disorders. Guilford Press, New York1988: 253-346