Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Molecular link between circadian clock disturbances and inflammatory diseases discovered

Date:
August 1, 2012
Source:
Salk Institute
Summary:
Scientists have known for some time that throwing off the body's circadian rhythm can negatively affect body chemistry. In fact, workers whose sleep-wake cycles are disrupted by night shifts are more susceptible to chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cancer.

Scientists have known for some time that throwing off the body's circadian rhythm can negatively affect body chemistry. In fact, workers whose sleep-wake cycles are disrupted by night shifts are more susceptible to chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cancer.

Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have now found a possible molecular link between circadian rhythm disturbances and an increased inflammatory response. In a study published July 9 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Salk team found that the absence of a key circadian clock component called cryptochrome (CRY) leads to the activation of a signaling system that elevates levels of inflammatory molecules in the body.

"There is compelling evidence that low-grade, constant inflammation could be the underlying cause of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cancer," says senior author Inder Verma, a professor in Salk's Laboratory of Genetics and the Irwin and Joan Jacobs Chair in Exemplary Life Science. "Our results strongly indicate that an arrhythmic clock system, induced by the absence of CRY proteins, alone is sufficient to increase the stress level of cells, leading to the constant expression of inflammatory proteins and causing low-grade, chronic inflammation."

Cryptochrome serves as a break to slow the circadian clock's activity, signaling our biological systems to wind down each evening. In the morning, CRY stops inhibiting the clock's activity, helping our physiology ramp up for the coming day.

To gain insight into the role of circadian clock components on immune function, the Salk scientists measured the expression of inflammatory mediators in the hypothalamus (the area of the brain responsible for sleep-wake cycle regulation) of mice with deleted CRY genes. Through a variety of tests, these knockout mice showed a significant increase in the expression of certain inflammatory proteins known as cytokines, including interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α, compared to mice with CRY genes.

"Our findings demonstrate that a lack of cryptochrome activates these proinflammatory molecules, indicating a potential role for cryptochrome in the regulation of inflammatory cytokine expression," says Satchidananda Panda, an associate professor in Salk's Regulatory Biology Laboratory and one of the senior authors of the study.

In addition, the researchers found that a lack of CRY activated the NF-kB pathway, a molecular signaling conduit that controls many genes involved in inflammation. NF-kB is a protein complex in a cell's cytoplasm, "just happily doing nothing," says Verma. In response to stimuli, it is transferred to the cell's nucleus, where it binds to inflammation genes and turns them on. The regulation of these genes is tightly controlled, but NF-kB does not completely shut off their expression. This lingering expression causes inflammation.

"Every time this pathway is turned on, there is a residual amount of inflammation left in the body," says Rajesh Narasimamurthy, a research associate in Verma's laboratory and the paper's first author. "That adds up over time, contributing to inflammation-related diseases like obesity and diabetes."

Previous research has shown that suppressing the activity of the NF-kB pathway might be a suitable therapy for some diseases. For example, NF-kB is activated automatically in cancer cells of multiple myeloma, which affects infection-fighting plasma cells in the bone marrow and allows the cells to proliferate. Drugs that inhibit this activity might be able to degrade NF-kB to the point that it may kill off the disease.

The researchers say the goal now is to find out how to suppress NF-kB activation in the short term to treat diseases like diabetes. They caution that any long-term suppression of the pathway could lead to chronic infection. "We would like to find molecules that modify this activity and focus on those small-molecule inhibitors to treat disease," Verma adds.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Salk Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. Narasimamurthy, M. Hatori, S. K. Nayak, F. Liu, S. Panda, I. M. Verma. Circadian clock protein cryptochrome regulates the expression of proinflammatory cytokines. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; 109 (31): 12662 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1209965109

Cite This Page:

Salk Institute. "Molecular link between circadian clock disturbances and inflammatory diseases discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120801093832.htm>.
Salk Institute. (2012, August 1). Molecular link between circadian clock disturbances and inflammatory diseases discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120801093832.htm
Salk Institute. "Molecular link between circadian clock disturbances and inflammatory diseases discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120801093832.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) As a third American missionary is confirmed to have contracted Ebola in Liberia, doctors on the ground in West Africa fear they're losing the battle against the outbreak. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) When Facebook acquired the virtual reality hardware developer Oculus VR in March for $2 billion, CEO Mark Zuckerberg hailed the firm's technology as "a new communication platform." Duration: 02:24 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins