Recent work suggests that the circadian pacemaker responds optimally to millisecond flashes of light, not continuous light exposure as has been historically believed. It is unclear whether these responses are influenced by the physical characteristics of the pulsing. In the present study, Drosophila (n = 2199) were stimulated with 8-, 16- or 120-ms flashes. For each duration, the energy content of the exposure was systematically varied by changing the pulse irradiance and the number of stimuli delivered over a fixed 15-min administration window (64 protocols surveyed in all). Results showed that per microjoule invested, 8-ms flashes were more effective at resetting the circadian activity rhythm than 16- and 120-ms flashes (i.e. left shift of the dose–response curve, as well as a higher estimated maximal response). These data suggest that the circadian pacemaker's photosensitivity declines within milliseconds of light contact. Further introduction of light beyond a floor of (at least) 8 ms leads to diminishing returns on phase-shifting.
|Date made available||2019|