Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

It's about time: Disrupted internal clocks play role in disease

02.07.2013
Study uncovers circadian disruption as risk factor in alcoholic liver disease

Thirty percent of severe alcoholics develop liver disease, but scientists have not been able to explain why only a subset is at risk. A research team from Northwestern University and Rush University Medical Center now has a possible explanation: disrupted sleep and circadian rhythms can push those vulnerable over the edge to disease.

The team studied mice that essentially were experiencing what shift workers or people with jet lag suffer: their internal clocks were out of sync with the natural light-dark cycle. Another group of mice had circadian disruption due to a faulty gene. Both groups were fed a diet without alcohol and next with alcohol, and the team then examined the physiological effects.

The researchers found the combination of circadian rhythm disruption and alcohol is a destructive double hit that can lead to alcoholic liver disease.

The study was published last month by the journal PLOS ONE.

"Circadian disruption appears to be a previously unrecognized risk factor underlying the susceptibility to or development of alcoholic liver disease," said Fred W. Turek, the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Biology at Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and one of the senior authors of the paper.

"What we and many other investigators are doing is bringing time to medicine for the diagnosis and treatment of disease," Turek said. "We call it circadian medicine, and it will be transformative. Medicine will change a great deal, similar to the way physics changed when Einstein brought time to physics."

A number of years ago, Ali Keshavarzian, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Rush University Medical Center who has worked with and studied patients with gastrointestinal and liver diseases, had a hunch disrupted circadian rhythms could be a contributing factor to the disease.

Keshavarzian had noticed that some patients with inflammatory bowel disease (inflammation in the intestine and/or colon) had flare-ups of symptoms when working nights, but they could control the disease when working the day shift. He sought out Turek, director of Northwestern's Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology, to help investigate the relationship between circadian rhythms and the disease.

The two investigators and their groups first studied the effect of circadian rhythm disruption in an animal model of colitis and noted that disruption of sleep and circadian rhythms (caused by modeling shift work and chronic jet lag in the animals) caused more severe colitis in mice.

Keshavarzian has been studying the effect of "gut leakiness" (the intestinal lining becomes weak and causes dangerous endotoxins to get into the blood stream) to bacterial products in gastrointestinal diseases for two decades. Because the mouse model of colitis is associated with leaky gut, he proposed that disruption of circadian rhythms from shift work could make the intestine more susceptible to leakiness. He wanted to test its effect in an animal model of alcoholic liver disease -- where a subset of alcoholics develop gut leakiness and liver disease -- in order to find out whether shift work is the susceptibility factor that promotes liver injury.

"Non-pathogen-mediated chronic inflammation is a major cause of many chronic diseases common in Western societies and developing countries that have adopted a Western lifestyle," said Keshavarzian, one of the senior authors of the paper. He is director of the Division of Digestive Diseases and the Josephine M. Dyrenforth Chair of Gastroenterology.

Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune disease and cardiovascular disease are examples of these diseases, to name just a few.

"Recent studies have shown that intestinal bacteria are the primary trigger for this inflammation, and gut leakiness is one of the major causes," Keshavarzian said. "The factor leading to gut leakiness is not known, however. Our study suggests that disruption of circadian rhythms and sleep, which is part of life in industrial societies, can promote it and explain the susceptibility."

In the study, the Northwestern and Rush researchers used two independent approaches, studying both genetic and environmental animal models. The circadian rhythms of one group of mice were disrupted genetically: Each animal had a mutant CLOCK gene, which regulates circadian rhythms. The second group's circadian rhythms were disrupted environmentally: The animals' light-dark cycle was changed periodically, leading to a state similar to chronic jet lag.

Mice in both groups, prior to ingesting alcohol, showed an increase in gut leakiness.

Next, both groups of mice were fed alcohol. After only one week, animals in both groups showed a significant additional increase in gut leakiness, compared to control mice on an alcohol-free diet. At the end of the three-month study, mice in both groups were in the early stages of alcoholic liver disease.

"We have clearly shown that circadian rhythm disruption can trigger gut leakiness, which drives the more severe pathology in the liver," said Keith Summa, a co-first author of the study and an M.D./Ph.D. candidate working in Turek's lab.

"For humans, circadian rhythm disruption typically is environmental, not genetic, so individuals have some control over the behaviors that cause trouble, be it a poor sleep schedule, shift work or exposure to light at night," he said.

Sleep and circadian rhythms are an integral part of biology and should be part of the discussion between medical doctors and their patients, the researchers believe.

"We want to personalize medicine from a time perspective," Turek said. "Our bodies are organized temporally on a 24-hour basis, and this needs to be brought into the equation for understanding health and disease."

The paper, titled "Disruption of the Circadian Clock in Mice Increases Intestinal Permeability and Promotes Alcohol-Induced Pathology and Inflammation," is available at http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0067102.

In addition to Turek, Keshavarzian and Summa, other authors of the paper are co-first author Robin M. Voigt, Christopher B. Forsyth, Maliha Shaikh and Yueming Tang, of Rush University Medical Center; Martha Hotz Vitaterna and Kate Cavanaugh, of Northwestern; and Shiwen Song, of the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

Megan Fellman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.northwestern.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>