Navigation Links
Rising star of brain found to regulate circadian rhythms

BOSTON (April 14, 2011, noon ET) The circadian system that controls normal sleep patterns is regulated by a group of glial brain cells called astrocytes, according to a study published online on April 14th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. Neuroscientists from Tufts University School of Medicine found that disruption of astrocyte function in fruit flies (Drosophila) led to altered daily rhythms, an indication that these star-shaped glial cells contribute to the control of circadian behavior. These results provide, for the first time, a tractable genetic model to study the role of astrocytes in circadian rhythms and sleep disorders.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, more than 40 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders. Some sleep disorders arise from changes to the internal clock that is modulated by environmental signals, including light. Biologically, the internal clock is known to be composed of a network of neurons that controls rhythmic behaviors. Rob Jackson and his team previously had found that normal circadian rhythms require a glial-specific protein. In the new study, the team demonstrates that glia, and particularly astrocytes, are active cellular elements of the neural circuit that controls circadian rhythms in the adult brain.

"This is significant because glia have been traditionally viewed as support cells rather than independent elements that can regulate neurons and behavior. Neurons have had center stage for some time but current research is establishing the role of glial cells in brain function," said Rob Jackson, PhD, professor of neuroscience at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) and member of the genetics and neuroscience program faculties at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts. Jackson is also the director of the Center for Neuroscience Research (CNR) at TUSM.

"We used cellular and molecular genetic techniques to manipulate glial cells in the adult brain of fruit flies and found that such cells regulate neurons of the circadian network and behavior" said first author Fanny Ng, PhD, a postdoctoral associate in the Jackson lab. Ng added, "this is the first study to show that glia can modulate the release of a neuronal factor that is essential for normal circadian behavior."

Jackson's team observed altered rhythms in locomotor activity with glial manipulations, an indication the circadian clock had been disrupted, which in humans can contribute to jet lag or serious sleep disorders.

"In order to develop treatments for these disorders, we need to understand their cellular and molecular bases. Our work suggests that Drosophila can serve as a model system for genetic and molecular approaches to understand astrocyte function and astrocyte-neuron interactions. This undoubtedly will contribute to a better understanding of sleep and other neurological disorders that result from circadian dysfunction," said Jackson.


Contact: Siobhan Gallagher
Tufts University, Health Sciences

Related medicine news :

1. Beware the Gentle Man With Unique Knowledge: The Passion and Skill of a Rising Star
2. Rising Use of Medical Technologies Extending Americans Lives
3. Elizabeth Colston, MD, PhD, of CONNEXION Healthcare, Honored as Rising Star by Healthcare Businesswomens Association
4. CareTech Solutions Honors Five Hospitals with Rising Star Awards
5. Asthma Rates Rising Across the U.S.
6. Youth baseball throwing arm injuries are rising dramatically
7. Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers in the Millions and Rising
8. Cosmetic Surgery Error in New York Strikes Medical Malpractice Lawyers as Unsurprising
9. Choose Responsibility Says New Study on Rising Alcohol Use Among Students Illustrates Need for Fresh Solutions
10. The Worst Is Over, but the Road to Growth Is Uncertain - The 17th Annual CFO Rising Conference & Exhibition
11. Poll Finds Americans Blame Insurers, Drug Companies for Rising Health Costs
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Experts from the ... AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, at the Hynes Convention Center in ... topics including advance care planning, healthcare costs and patient and family engagement. , ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar Marathe earned his ... David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal Medicine at Scripps ... in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had the opportunity to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those ... deal with these feelings, many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol ... of Marne, Michigan, has released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Dr. Amanda Cheng, an ... Cheng has extensive experience with all areas of orthodontics, including robotic Suresmile technology, ... , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary adjunct to orthodontic treatment. It can be ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... York, NY (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 ... ... publication Haute Living, is proud to recognize Dr. Barry M. Weintraub as a ... that “the most beautiful women in the world, and the most handsome men, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 , ... Thursday, July 7, 2016 , , , , LOCATION: , ... , , , , EXPERT PANELISTS:  , , , Frost ... Industry Analyst, Christi Bird; Senior Industry Analyst, Divyaa Ravishankar and Unmesh ... The global pharmaceutical industry is witnessing an exceptional era. Several ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Revolutionary technology includes multi-speaker listening to conquer ... in advanced audiology and hearing aid technology, has today ... world,s first internet connected hearing aid that opens up ...      (Photo: ) , ... , TwinLink™ - the first dual communication ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Research and ... Procedure Volumes: Global Analysis (United States, China, Japan, Brazil, ... report to their offering. ... for healthcare business planners, provides surgical procedure volume data ... trends with an in-depth analysis of growth drivers and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: