Our internal clock is controlled by some of the descendants of very different genres, known as clock genes. These genes are highly active in what is called the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the brain.
Stress hormones, and not neurons, managing fixed circadian rhythms that control everything from the need to sleep to body temperature, researchers have found.
Our internal clock is controlled by some of the descendants of very different genes, known as clock genes. These genes are highly active in what is called the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the brain.
However, areas of the brain that are not directly related to the neurons, and this led researchers at the University of Copenhagen curious.
Using laboratory tests, the team demonstrated that circadian rhythms are controlled by the stress hormone, corticosterone.
“In humans, this hormone is known as cortisol, and although the rhythm of sleep in rats is the opposite of us, we basically have the same hormonal system,” says Associate Professor Martin Fredensborg Rath of the Department of Neuroscience.
In the study with the stress hormone corticosterone, the researchers removed the suprachiasmatic nucleus in a rat.
As expected, it is removed from the animal’s circadian rhythms.
However, small brain’s circadian rhythm is restored when mice were then implanted with a specially programmed micropump.
In this case, however, the researchers used a pump to emit a dose of corticosterone at different times of day and night, similar to the natural rhythms of animals.
“No one has used this pump for anything like this before. So technically, we were into something completely new, “said Rath.
With artificial corticosterone supplements, researchers again able to read the clock genes rhythmic activity in animals.
“This is interesting from a scientific standpoint because it means that we have two systems – the nervous system and the hormonal system – the perfect communication with and influence each other, all in the course of a fairly tight 24-hour program,” Rath outlined.
The researchers now plan to study the hormones more rhythmic in the same way, including hormones from the thyroid gland.