The entrainment function in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of young non-diabetic Otsuka Long Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rats was studied. OLETF rats significantly needed more days for re-entrainment to a new light-dark cycle than control Long Evans Tokushima Otsuka (LETO) rats. We also assessed Fos expression in the SCN induced by dim light exposure. The number of Fos-immunoreactive cells was significantly decreased in 5- to 13-week-old OLETF rats compared with LETO rats. Moreover, the effect of glutamate on neuronal activity in the SCN of OLETF rats were investigated. In young non-diabetic OLETF rats, the phase delay in the SCN neuronal firing rhythm induced by 1 μM glutamate was significantly less than that in LETO rats. These results suggested that the entrainment function is reduced in OLETF rats before the onset of diabetes.
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