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Rhythmic 24 h Variation of Core Body Temperature and Locomotor Activity in a Subterranean Rodent (Ctenomys aff. knighti), the Tuco-Tuco

By Patricia Tachinardi, Jose Eduardo, Wilken Bicudo, Gisele Akemi Oda and Ra Valentinuzzi

Abstract

The tuco-tuco Ctenomys aff. knighti is a subterranean rodent which inhabits a semi-arid area in Northwestern Argentina. Although they live in underground burrows where environmental cycles are attenuated, they display robust, 24 h locomotor activity rhythms that are synchronized by light/dark cycles, both in laboratory and field conditions. The underground environment also poses energetic challenges (e.g. high-energy demands of digging, hypoxia, high humidity, low food availability) that have motivated thermoregulation studies in several subterranean rodent species. By using chronobiological protocols, the present work aims to contribute towards these studies by exploring day-night variations of thermoregulatory functions in tuco-tucos, starting with body temperature and its temporal relationship to locomotor activity. Animals showed daily, 24 h body temperature rhythms that persisted even in constant darkness and temperature, synchronizing to a daily light/dark cycle, with highest values occurring during darkness hours. The range of oscillation of body temperature was slightly lower than those reported for similar-sized and dark-active rodents. Most rhythmic parameters, such as period and phase, did not change upon removal of the running wheel. Body temperature and locomotor activity rhythms were robustly associated in time. The former persisted even after removal of the acute effects of intense activity on body temperature by a statistical method. Finally, regression gradients between body temperature and activity were higher in the beginning of the night, suggesting day-night variation in thermal conductance and hea

Year: 2016
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.797.7342
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