Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.


Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Neuroscience & Behavior

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Rotating shift work, irregular sleep patterns and jetlag disrupt circadian rhythms, induce or aggravate disease, and produce deficits in cognitive function. Internal misalignment, a state in which abnormal phase relationships prevail between and within organs, is widely proposed to account for these adverse effects of circadian disruption. This hypothesis has been difficult to test because phase shifts of the entraining environmental cycle lead to transient desynchrony. Thus, it remains possible that phase shifts, regardless of internal desynchrony, account for adverse effects of circadian disruption. I have used the duper mutant hamster, whose locomotor activity rhythms re-entrain 5-fold faster than wild types after a phase shift of 8 hours, to test whether internal desynchrony can account for adverse effects of jet lag on adult neurogenesis. I subjected wild type and duper female hamsters to alternating 8h phase advances and delays of the LD cycle at 16-day intervals. I injected 5-Bromo-2’-deoxyuridine (BrdU, a thymidine analogue) after the 4th shift and collected brains after the 8th shift. As expected, mutants re-entrained activity rhythms more rapidly than did wild types. On the other hand, estrous cycles, as assessed by vaginal smears, were rarely disrupted by repeated phase shifts in either genotype.

I next compared cell proliferation and neurogenesis in the subgranular zone of the hippocampus between Duper mutants and wild type siblings using the S-phase marker BrdU and the neuronal marker NeuN. I assessed the total number of BrdU cells in the subgranular zone of the hippocampus, as the proportion that expressed NeuN. Duper mutants had more BrdU-ir cells, and more BrdU+/NeuN+ cells than did wild types, whether or not they experienced phase shifts, revealing an unexpected increase in neurogenesis. Surprisingly, repeated phase shifts increased neurogenesis in WT but not duper hamsters. Despite the increase in neurogenesis, phase shifts reduced the number of adult-born non-neuronal (BrdU+/NeuN-) cells in WT hamsters but had no such effect on duper mutants. In addition, the duper mutation increases hippocampal neurogenesis regardless of circadian. Our results suggest that adult-born non-neuronal cells are most vulnerable to circadian disruption, and that internal desynchrony promotes their demise. disruption.


First Advisor

Eric Bittman

Second Advisor

Joseph Bergan

Third Advisor

Rolf Karlstrom