Light and feeding cycles strongly synchronize daily rhythms in animals, which may, as a consequence, develop food anticipatory activity (FAA). However, the light/food entraining mechanisms of the central circadian oscillator remain unknown. In this study, we investigate the existence of FAA in seven groups of zebrafish subjected to a light/dark (LD) cycle or constant light (LL) and different feeding regimes (random, fasting, and feeding in the middle of the light phase or dark phase). The aim was to ascertain whether the daily rhythm of behavior and clock gene (per1 and cry1) expression in the zebrafish brain was entrained by the light and feeding regime. The results revealed that FAA developed in zebrafish fed daily at a fixed time, under LD and under LL. Zebrafish displayed locomotor activity mostly during the daytime, although the percentage of activity during the light phase varied depending on feeding time (ranging from 93.2% to 63.1% in the mid-light and mid-dark fed groups, respectively). However, the different feeding regimes failed to modify the daily rhythm of per1 and cry1 expression in the zebrafish brain under LD (approximate acrophases [peak times] at ZT22 and ZT4, respectively; lights-on = ZT0). Under LL, per1 and cry1 expression did not show significant daily rhythmicity, regardless of the feeding regime. These findings indicate that, although schedule-fed zebrafish developed FAA as regards locomotor activity, feeding had little effect on clock gene expression in whole brain homogenates, suggesting the feeding-entrainable oscillator may be located elsewhere or at specific brain sites.
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