New research links body clocks to chronic lung diseases
Scientists at The
Internal biological timers (circadian clocks) are found in almost all living things driving diverse processes such as sleep/wake cycles in humans to leaf movement in plants. In mammals including humans, circadian clocks are found in most cells and tissues of the body, and orchestrate daily rhythms in our physiology.
The research team's ground breaking findings, which are being published in Genes & Development, have for the first time found that the circadian clock in the mouse lung rhythmically switches on and off genes controlling the antioxidant defense pathway. This 24 hourly rhythm enables the lungs to anticipate and withstand daily exposure to pollutants.
The research was led by Dr
Dr Meng said: "We used a mouse model that mimics human pulmonary fibrosis, and found that an oxidative and fibrotic challenge delivered to the lungs during the night phase (when mice are active) causes more severe lung damages than the same challenge administered during the day which is a mouse's resting phase."
This means that the rhythm of this lung clock gives an indication of more suitable times of the day for drugs to be administered to patients suffering from oxidative/fibrotic diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Dr Meng continued: "Our findings show that timed administration of the antioxidant compound sulforaphane, effectively attenuates the severity of the lung fibrosis in this mouse model."
In other words the research suggests that taking drug treatments for oxidative and fibrotic diseases according to the lung clock time could increase their effectiveness, which would allow a lower dosage and consequently reduce side effects.
This latest study is part of on-going research that is exploring how chronic disruption to body clocks by changes like ageing or shift work contribute to a number of conditions such as osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, and mood disorder.
Dr Meng said: "Our next step is to test our theory that similar rhythmic activity of the antioxidant defence pathway also operates in human lungs. This will enable us to translate our findings and identify the proper clock time to treat chronic lung diseases that are known to involve oxidative stress.
"Funded by an
Keywords for this news article include: Antioxidants, Therapy, Lung Diseases, Protective Agents,
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