Chronobiol Int 2015 Apr 25;32(3):395-404. Epub 2014 Nov 25.
Faculty of Biology, Department of Physiology, University of Murcia , Murcia , Spain and.
Several studies have been performed to identify age-related changes in the circadian system (CS) but the impairment of the CS and its chronodisruption at the end of an organism life have not been studied in depth. Aging commonly affects the input pathways into the biological clock or restraints their processing, therefore simplifying the system output, the overt rhythms. The purpose of this work was to do a complete characterization of changes that occurs in the CS in the last stage of a vertebrate organism life and to develop tools able to detect in which moment of the last days of life is the animal, using an overt rhythm, the rest-activity rhythm (RAR). For that, a fish species proposed as model for aging studies, Nothobranchius rachovii, has been used. A progressive and sequential CS breakdown has been described for the last 22 d of life of N. rachovii (∼7% of total life), suffering a general RAR impairment mainly reflected by changes in phase regularity, complexity, amplitude and the ability to stay synchronized to the LD cycle. Also, an equation of days remaining of life, based on the RAR description, has been calculated and proposed as a tool to identify close-to-death individuals which could be subjected to an adequate restoring treatment to enhance the CS function and improve their well-being.