Pinealectomy decelerates the circadian food intake rhythm of cervically sympathectomized rabbits

A. C. Bobbert, H. Duindam, J. J. Riethoven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Long-term records of the free-running food intake rhythms were obtained from 26 young adult blinded rabbits that were subjected in the course of recording to bilateral superior cervical ganglionectomy (sympathectomy). This always resulted in acceleration of the rhythm (mean λ r= - 0.35 h). Some 4 months afterwards, 12 rabbits were pinealectomized and after another 4 months sham pinealectomized also. In the other 14 animals, these operations were performed in the reverse order. It appeared that suctioning away part of the ventricular walls during sham pinealectomy was followed by a slight reduction in r (mean = - 0.07 h) that could be largely attributed to the spontaneous gradual reduction of r that occurred throughout all experiments. On the other hand, total pinealectomy in these already sympathectomized blinded rabbits always resulted in a substantial deceleration of the rhythms (mean λ r = + 0.23 h). These observations on blinded rabbits suggest that a sympathetically denervated pineal gland releases appreciable amounts of melatonin or of another hormone with a melatonin-like accelerating effect on the circadian pacemaker (SCN).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-309
Number of pages13
JournalChronobiology International
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Food intake rhythm
  • Free-running period
  • Melatonin
  • Pineal gland
  • Pinealectomy
  • Rabbit
  • Superior cervical ganglia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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