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Auditory deprivation modifies biological rhythms in the golden hamster.

R. Cutrera, M. Pedemonte, G. Vanini, N. Goldstein, D. Savorini, D. P. Cardinali, R. A. Velluti


To assess to what extent auditory sensory deprivation affects biological rhythmicity, sleep-wakefulness cycle and 24 h rhythm in locomotor activity were examined in golden hamsters after bilateral cochlear lesion. An increase in total sleep time as well as a decrease in wakefulness (W) were associated to an augmented number of W episodes, as well as of slow wave sleep (SWS) and paradoxical sleep (PS) episodes in deaf hamsters. The number of episodes of the three behavioural states and the percent duration of W and SWS increased significantly during the light phase of daily photoperiod only. Lower amplitudes of locomotor activity rhythm and a different phase angle as far as light off were found in deaf hamsters kept either under light-dark photoperiod or in constant darkness. Period of locomotor activity remained unchanged after cochlear lesions. The results indicate that auditory deprivation disturbs photic synchronization of rhythms with little effect on the clock timing mechanism itself.

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