The primary stimulus for setting the circadian clock is the environmental light cycle (day/night). Photic information communicated from the eyes to the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus through the excitatory amino acid neurotransmitter glutamate. The inhibitory amino acid neurotransmitter, GABA, acts to oppose the actions of glutamate. In addition to these, many other neurotransmitters and neuromodulators have effects on circadian rhythms. Our lab seeks to define the mechanisms by which a small group of cells located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus generate rhythms of physiology and behavior, and how these rhythms are modified by environmental and physiological stimuli. We use a wide variety of techniques, including microarrays, real-time PCR, in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry, intracranial microinjections, and analysis of behavioral rhythms.
Topics currently under investigation in the lab include:
How the timing of feeding influences clock function.
The role of cannabinoids in regulating circadian rhythms.
Differences in gene expression in subregions of the suprachiasmatic nucleus and how those differences relate to function.
How disruption of circadian rhythms can affect fertility.
Krizo, J.A., Moreland, L.E., Rastogi, A., Mou, X., Prosser, R.A., and Mintz, E.M. (2018) Regulation of locomotor activity in fed, fasted, and food-restricted mice lacking tissue-type plasminogen activator. BMC Physiology, 18:2.
Rastogi, A., and Mintz, E.M. (2017) Neural correlates of food anticipatory activity in mice subjected to once or twice-daily feeding periods. European Journal of Neuroscience, 46: 2265-2275.
Paul, J.R., McKeown, A.S., Totsch, S.K., Mintz, E.M., Kraft, T.W., Cowell, R.M., and Gamble, K.L. (2017) Glycogen synthase kinase 3 regulates photic signaling in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. European Journal of Neuroscience, 45: 1102-1110. doi: 10.1111/ejn.13549.
Cooper, J.M., Rastogi, A., Krizo, J.A., Mintz, E.M., and Prosser, R.A. (2017) Urokinase-type plasminogen activator modulates mammalian circadian clock phase regulation in tissue-type plasminogen activator knockout mice. European Journal of Neuroscience, 45: 805-815. doi: 10.1111/ejn.13511
Tamborski, S., Mintz, E.M., and Caldwell, H.K. (2016) Sex differences in the development of the central oxytocin system in mice. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 28: doi: 10.1111/jne.12364.
Paulus, E.V. and Mintz, E.M. (2016) Circadian rhythms of clock gene expression in the cerebellum of serotonin-deficient Pet-1 knockout mice. Brain Research, 1630: 10-17.
Krizo, J.A. and Mintz, E.M. (2015) Sex differences in behavioral circadian rhythms in laboratory rodents. Frontiers in Endocrinology (Lausanne), 5: 234.
Kallingal, G.J. and Mintz, E.M. (2014) Site-specific effects of gastrin-releasing peptide in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. European Journal of Neuroscience, 39: 630-639.
Paulus, E.V. and Mintz, E.M. (2013) Photic and non-photic responses of the circadian clock in serotonin-deficient Pet-1 knockout mice. Chronobiology International, 30:1251-1260.