Novel molecular clues behind nocturnal behavior

Research provides unaccustomed insights into sleep/awake circadian regular patterns

Date: August 22, 2016

Source: University of California – Irvine

Research from University of California, Irvine scientists and their colleagues offers recent insights into why many animals repose at night and are active during the day, while others do the opposite.

A team headed by Qun-Yong Zhou, UCI professor of pharmacology, examined the epoch/night patterns of monkeys (diurnal) and mice (nocturnal) and found that although both process light through the eyes in a similar way, the signals that determine lie in the grave/awake modes are sent to the brain by way of different routes and produce completely facing sleep/awake patterns.

“Since humans are diurnal, this has clear implications for possible novel treatment of certain sleep or mood disorders,” said Zhou, the study’s serve author. Results appear online in Molecular Brain.

Sleep/awake patterns are amid the basic physiological functions in virtually all organisms that are governed ~ dint of. circadian rhythms. These fundamental time-tracking systems meet environmental changes and adapt to the appropriate time of lifetime.

Zhou and his colleagues discovered that the rest/awake switch exists in the eyes not beyond the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells, or ipRGC. Previously, a brain division called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN, was believed to habitation the master clock that keeps the visible form on an approximately 24-hour roll.

The current findings give the eyes a again central role in the control of the sleep/awake cycle. In the nocturnal mice, ipRGC and SCN crop out to function similarly, and either could act toward as the timekeeper. But in the daily monkeys, the eyes’ ipRGC seems to be dominant.

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