Electrolytic lesions to the optic chiasm affect circadian locomotor rhythms in lizards

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Electrolytic lesions to 85–95% of both optic nerves at the level of the optic chiasm (OC-X) induce a significant shortening of the free-running period (τ) of locomotor rhythms in Podarcis sicula held in constant temperature (29°C) and constant darkness. Together with previous data in P. sicula, showing that retinalectomy (RET-X) in constant darkness also mostly induces a shortening of τ, the present results demonstrate that the retinae play a central role in the control of behavioural circadian rhythmicity independently of light perception. The fact that OC-X and RET-X affect locomotor rhythms in the same way (mostly by shortening τ), strongly supports the contention that the influence of the retinae on the circadian system is neurally mediated.

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