Constant light disrupts the circadian rhythm of steroidogenic proteins in the rat adrenal gland

Shin Y. Park, Jamie J. Walker, Nicholas W. Johnson, Zidong Zhao, Stafford L. Lightman, Francesca Spiga*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The circadian rhythm of corticosterone (CORT) secretion from the adrenal cortex is regulated by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which is entrained to the light–dark cycle. Since the circadian CORT rhythm is associated with circadian expression of the steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) protein, we investigated the 24 h pattern of hormonal secretion (ACTH and CORT), steroidogenic gene expression (StAR, SF-1, DAX1 and Nurr77) and the expression of genes involved in ACTH signalling (MC2R and MRAP) in rats entrained to a normal light–dark cycle. We found that circadian changes in ACTH and CORT were associated with the circadian expression of all gene targets; with SF-1, Nurr77 and MRAP peaking in the evening, and DAX1 and MC2R peaking in the morning. Since disruption of normal SCN activity by exposure to constant light abolishes the circadian rhythm of CORT in the rat, we also investigated whether the AM–PM variation of our target genes was also disrupted in rats exposed to constant light conditions for 5 weeks. We found that the disruption of the AM–PM variation of ACTH and CORT secretion in rats exposed to constant light was accompanied by a loss of AM–PM variation in StAR, SF-1 and DAX1, and a reversed AM–PM variation in Nurr77, MC2R and MRAP. Our data suggest that circadian expression of StAR is regulated by the circadian expression of nuclear receptors and proteins involved in both ACTH
signalling and StAR transcription. We propose that ACTH regulates the secretion of CORT via the circadian control of steroidogenic gene pathways that become dysregulated under the influence of constant light.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-123
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Volume371
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2013

Keywords

  • Circadian rhythm
  • StAR
  • SF-1
  • DAX1
  • MRAP
  • HPA axis
  • ACUTE REGULATORY PROTEIN
  • ADRENOCORTICAL CELL-LINES
  • ORPHAN NUCLEAR RECEPTORS
  • SUPRACHIASMATIC NUCLEUS
  • GENE-EXPRESSION
  • GLUCOCORTICOID-RECEPTOR
  • CORTISOL PRODUCTION
  • MT1 MELATONIN
  • CORTICOSTERONE SECRETION
  • PLASMA-CORTICOSTERONE

Cite this