Meta-analysis of light and circadian timekeeping in rodents

Robert Lee, Amaris Tapia, Sevag Kaladchibachi, Michael A. Grandner, Fabian Xosé Fernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We conducted a meta-analysis of papers published over the past half-century (1964–2017) that quantified the phase-shifting effects of timed light exposure on rodent locomotor rhythms. Descriptive statistics were tabulated in order to explore the extent to which these studies were generalizable across species, sex, age, circadian timing, and light sources. Attempts at understanding photic resetting were primarily targeted at younger male animals, with particular emphases placed on characterizing the pacemaker systems of C57BL/6 mice and Syrian hamsters during the parts of their subjective night most sensitive to delivery of white-fluorescent light. With subsequent analyses restricted to these rodent models, we then assessed the relationship between luminous exposure (via broadspectrum emission) and phase-shifting through a series of linear regressions. Monotonically increasing illuminance-response functions were noted at most circadian times surveyed. In the aggregate, our results show that previous research conducted on light's regulation of circadian timekeeping has been skewed in design with respect to several important biological variables. This bias might limit translation of phototherapy-relevant data to women and older individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-229
Number of pages15
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • C57BL/6
  • Circadian
  • Hamster
  • Light
  • Phase-shifting
  • Photic
  • Resetting
  • Rhythms
  • Rodents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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