Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

After a time-shift, mixed signals from the circadian clock

24.05.2005


Circadian rhythms in mammalian behavior, physiology, and biochemistry are controlled by the central clock within a brain structure known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). The clock is synchronized to environmental cycles of light and dark. It is well known, from everyday experience, that adjusting to new light schedules takes several days, though the details of how this adaptation takes place are not well understood.



Researchers now report findings that suggest this adaptation process does not necessarily involve a gradual and synchronous adaptation by the neurons that comprise the central circadian clock--rather, that different components of the clock tend to adapt to a shifted light schedule at two different speeds.

The work is reported in the May 24 issue of Current Biology by a research team led by Johanna H. Meijer of Leiden University Medical Center in The Netherlands.


The researchers studied clock-resetting behavior in rats that were exposed to a six-hour delay of the light schedule, a shift that mimics a transition from the eastern U.S. to western Europe. By performing electrophysiological analysis of cells that constitute the central circadian clock, the researchers made a surprising discovery: one part of the clock mechanism, represented by a dorsal (upper) group of cells, exhibited oscillations in activity that corresponded to slow resetting of the clock in response to the shifted light schedule, while another part of the clock, represented by a ventral (lower) group of cells, exhibited a distinct pattern of activity that corresponded to fast resetting of the clock.

Perhaps contributing to the different behavior of the two groups of clock cells are the effects on these cells of the neurotransmitter GABA, which the researchers found to excite the cells of the dorsal SCN while inhibiting neurons in the ventral SCN. Because GABA transmits information between the ventral and dorsal SCN, such differences in effect might influence, in complex ways, how the two groups of cells adapt to a shifted light schedule.

The authors conclude that the phases of activity in the ventral and dorsal clock shift with different speeds. During a schedule shift corresponding to a transition from the U.S. to western Europe, the ventral part of the clock is immediately synchronized to the new light schedule, but the dorsal part of the clock requires several days to adjust. This results temporarily in bimodal patterns of electrical activity that are generated by the clock within the SCN. Because electrical activity is the output of the circadian clock, the findings suggest that after a significant shift in light schedule, the rest of the brain is transiently--for a duration of about six days--exposed to complex signaling patterns from the circadian clock.

Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.current-biology.com
http://www.cell.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>