• behavior ablation;
  • circadian pacemaker;
  • dorsomedial hypothalamus;
  • suprachiasmatic nucleus


Behavior ablation remains a powerful, if not cutting-edge, approach for localization of function within the nervous system. The initial discovery of the suprachiasmatic nuclei as the site of the mammalian light-entrainable circadian pacemaker is owed to this approach. Food-anticipatory activity (FAA), an output of a putative feeding-entrainable circadian pacemaker, is a behavior that has been surprisingly resilient to elimination by surgical lesion. Here we review this literature, with particular attention paid to recent studies aimed at defining the role of the dorsomedial hypothalamus in the generation of FAA. This literature is fraught with examples of inconsistent results among lesion studies, which in some cases can be accounted for by varied endpoint measures. The site of the feeding-entrainable circadian pacemaker, if it resides in a discrete structure at all, remains unknown.