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It's about time: Disrupted internal clocks play role in disease
Date:7/1/2013

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 fa
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Contact: Megan Fellman
fellman@northwestern.edu
847-491-3115
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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