These experiments were undertaken to determine if the pineal gland is involved in the physiological mechanism by which the rat alters its free-running period (tau) in response to changes in illuminance. Spontaneous wheel-running activity was recorded from pinealectomized or sham-operated female Charles River rats. The tau of running activity was determined in continuous darkness (DD) or in continuous dim light (LL). Pinealectomized rats and sham-operated rats lengthened their tau's to approximately the same extent when shifted from DD to LL and shortened their tau's when shifted back to DD. Continuous melatonin administration via Silastic capsules failed to alter tau of rats kept in dim LL. These results indicate that the pineal is not primarily involved in the mechanism by which the rat alters tau in response to changes in illuminance.
- Copyright © 1982 the American Physiological Society