Circadian heart rate changes and light-dependence in the Mediterranean seabream Sparus aurata

A. Aissaoui, L. Tort, J. Altimiras

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Despite the abundant literature on circadian heart rate rhythms in fish, few studies have attempted to elucidate if such patterns is endogenous or if it is modulated by environmental cues. In this study, heart rates were continuously recorded in Sparus aurata acclimated to different light regimes (normal or shifted LD 12:12 cycle and a pulsed 0.75:0.75 LD cycle) to investigate the endogenous nature and the role of light on the circadian pattern of heart rate. Under LD 12:12, the daily pattern of heart rate showed higher values at night and lower rates during the day (average amplitude of the heart rate change of 10.6 ± 5.7 beats min-1). The circadian pattern was maintained in animals under constant light but the amplitude was decrease (2.4 ± 1.1 beats min-1). Light masks the expression of the rhythm because under a pulsed LCD cycle, heart rate tracks the pulsed LD phases, increasing during the dark phase and decreasing during the light phase. Besides the ultradian pattern imposed, an underlying circadian rhythm was detected, which indicates that the rhythm is endogenous. However, the strong link between heart rate and light obtained under pulsed LD cycles suggest the timing mechanism to be mostly based on external light reception.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)89-94
    JournalFish Physiology and Biochemistry
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000


    • Circadian rhythm
    • Endogenous clock
    • Light synchronization
    • Photoperiod
    • Sparid fish
    • Teleost
    • Zeitgeber


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