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Abstract #2943

The role of central vestibular system in circadian rhythms?

Alex T. L. Leong1,2, Christopher Man1,2, Yong Gu3, and Ed X. Wu1,2
1Laboratory of Biomedical Imaging and Signal Processing, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China, 2Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China, 3Institute of Neuroscience, CAS Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China

The vestibular system is critical for bodily functions, yet it remains an underappreciated sense. Recently, seminal studies of the prolonged exposure to microgravity in space showed significant alteration in vestibular activity and circadian rhythms. However, little is known regarding the role of the central vestibular system in regulating the circadian clock. Here, we deploy fMRI and optogenetic stimulation of vestibular excitatory neurons to visualize the neural targets of the vestibular system in circadian circuits. We reveal that the central vestibular system provides inputs to the suprachiasmatic nucleus, optic nerve and locus coeruleus, notable regions that drive and regulate circadian rhythms.

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