The circadian rhythm of activity in vertebrates often splits into two components after continuous exposure to constant light. This observation suggests that at least two circadian pacemakers underlie the activity rhythm. After unilateral ablation of the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nuclei in hamsters, the splitting phenomenon was eliminated and a single rhythm of activity was established. The period of the new circadian activity rhythm differed from the periods of the split rhythm and that preceding the split. These results suggest an interaction between the bilaterally paired suprachiasmatic nuclei in the generation of the circadian rhythm of activity.
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