Spinal Cord Injury in Rats Dysregulates Diurnal Rhythms of Fecal Output and Liver Metabolic Indicators.
Gaudet AD, Fonken LK, Ayala MT, Dangelo HM, Smith EJ, Bateman EM, Schleicher WE, Maier SF, Watkins LR
Spinal cord injury (SCI) dysregulates metabolic homeostasis. Metabolic homeostasis is optimized across the day by the circadian system. Despite the prevalence of metabolic pathologies after SCI, post-SCI circadian regulation of metabolism remains understudied. Here, we hypothesized that SCI in rats would disrupt circadian regulation of key metabolic organs, leading to metabolic dysregulation. Female and male Sprague-Dawley rats received moderate thoracic (T)-9 contusion SCI (or sham surgery). First, SCI disrupted diurnal rhythms in two metabolic behaviors: fecal production and food intake rhythms were ablated acutely. SCI also expedited whole-gut transit time. In parallel, acute SCI increased plasma glucose. Diurnal glucose storage-release cycles regulated by the liver were disrupted by SCI, which also increased liver glucose metabolism messenger RNAs (mRNAs). Further, SCI disrupted liver clock gene expression and suppressed inflammatory gene rhythms. Together, our novel data suggest that SCI disrupts typical metabolic and circadian function. Improving post-SCI metabolic function could enhance recovery of homeostasis.