Genes that establish the circadian clock have differential expression with respect to solar time in central and peripheral tissues. Here, we find circadian-time-induced differential expression in a large number of genes not associated with circadian rhythms in two brain regions lacking overt circadian function: the dorsal vagal complex (DVC) and the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA). These regions primarily engage in autonomic, homeostatic, and emotional regulation. However, we find striking diurnal shifts in gene expression in these regions of male Sprague Dawley rats with no obvious patterns that could be attributed to function or region. These findings have implications for the design of gene expression studies as well as for the potential effects of xenobiotics on these regions that regulate autonomic and emotional states.
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