Investigation of the aging clock's intermittent-light responses uncovers selective deficits to green millisecond flashes

Sevag Kaladchibachi, David C. Negelspach, Jamie M. Zeitzer, Fabian Xosé Fernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The central pacemaker of flies, rodents, and humans generates less robust circadian output signals across normative aging. It is not well understood how changes in light sensitivity might contribute to this phenomenon. In the present study, we summarize results from an extended data series (n = 5681) showing that the locomotor activity rhythm of aged Drosophila can phase-shift normally to intermittently spaced episodes of bright polychromatic light exposure (600 lx) but that deficits emerge in response to 8, 16, and 120-millisecond flashes of narrowband blue (λm, 452 nm) and green (λm, 525 nm) LED light. For blue, phase-resetting of the activity rhythm of older flies is not as energy efficient as it is in younger flies at the fastest flash-exposures tested (8 milliseconds), suggesting there might be different floors of light duration necessary to incur photohabituation in each age group. For green, the responses of older flies are universally crippled relative to those of younger flies across the slate of protocols we tested. The difference in green flash photosensitivity is one of the most salient age-related phenotypes that has been documented in the circadian phase-shifting literature thus far. These data provide further impetus for investigations on pacemaker aging and how it might relate to changes in the circadian system's responses to particular sequences of light exposure tuned for wavelength, intensity, duration, and tempo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112389
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology
StatePublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Circadian
  • Flash
  • Light
  • Millisecond
  • Phototherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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