Effects of aging on lens transmittance and retinal input to the suprachmasmatic nucleus in golden hamsters

Yan Zhang, George C. Brainard, Phyllis C. Zee, Lawrence H. Pinto, Joseph S. Takahashi, Fred W. Turek

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Old animals are less sensitive by almost an order of magnitude to the phase-shifting effects of a low intensity light pulse on the locomotor activity rhythm and the associated induction of immediate early genes in the circadian clock. The transmittance of energy from 200 to 700 nm through the excised lens of the eyes of young and old golden hamsters was measured to determine if an age-related difference exists in the transmittance of light. There is only a small decrease (8-50%) in transmittance, with the magnitude being dependent upon wavelength. No significant differences were detected between young and old animals in the retinal innervation of the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). These results support the hypothesis that the observed decrease in sensitivity to light in the aged circadian system occurs within the SCN itself and/or retino-hypothalamic tract photoreceptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-170
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 24 1998



  • Aging
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Lens
  • Retinohypothaiamic tract
  • Spectral transmittance
  • Suprachiasmatic nucleus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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