Dissociation between diurnal cycles in locomotor activity, feeding behavior and hepatic PERIOD2 expression in chronic alcohol-fed mice

Peng Zhou, John H. Werner, Donghoon Lee, Aaron D. Sheppard, Suthat Liangpunsakul, Giles E. Duffield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Chronic alcohol consumption contributes to fatty liver disease. Our studies revealed that the hepatic circadian clock is disturbed in alcohol-induced hepatic steatosis, and effects of chronic alcohol administration upon the clock itself may contribute to steatosis. We extended these findings to explore the effects of chronic alcohol treatment on daily feeding and locomotor activity patterns. Mice were chronically pair-fed ad libitum for 4 weeks using the Lieber-DeCarli liquid diet, with calorie-controlled liquid and standard chow diets as control groups. Locomotor activity, feeding activity, and real-time bioluminescence recording of PERIOD2::LUCIFERASE expression in tissue explants were measured. Mice on liquid control and chow diets exhibited normal profiles of locomotor activity, with a ratio of 22:78% day/night activity and a peak during early night. This pattern was dramatically altered in alcohol-fed mice, marked by a 49:51% ratio and the absence of a distinct peak. While chow-diet fed mice had a normal 24:76% ratio of feeding activity, with a peak in the early night, this pattern was dramatically altered in both liquid-diet groups: mice had a 43:57% ratio, and an absence of a distinct peak. Temporal differences were also observed between the two liquid-diet groups during late day. Cosinor analysis revealed a ~4-h and ~6-h shift in the alcohol-fed group feeding and locomotor activity rhythms, respectively. Analysis of hepatic PER2 expression revealed that the molecular clock in alcohol-fed and control liquid-diet mice was shifted by ~11h and ~6h, respectively. No differences were observed in suprachiasmatic nucleus explants, suggesting that changes in circadian phase in the liver were generated independently from the central clock. These results suggest that chronic alcohol consumption and a liquid diet can differentially modulate the daily rhythmicity of locomotor and feeding behaviors, aspects that might contribute to disturbances in the circadian timing system and development of hepatic steatosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-408
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Clock gene
  • Feeding behavior
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Lieber-DeCarli liquid diet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Medicine(all)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neurology
  • Toxicology
  • Health(social science)

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