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Resetting body clock in mice

27 August 2010

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Category: Research & medical benefits

lab–mice–mouse.jpgResearchers have successfully used a chemical to reset and restart the natural 24-hour body clock in mice. This opens up the possibility of treatments for human mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, as well as curing jet lag and some of the negative effects of shift-work, all of which are linked to abnormalities of, or disruptions to, the body clock.

Many organisms have an internal body timing system called the circadian clock. Light, and the day and night cycle, are very important for resetting the clock and fine adjustments are made by several enzymes. One of these enzymes, called casein kinase 1, was at the centre of this study.

Mice whose daily cycle had been disrupted by either genetic modification or by living under constant light returned to a normal 24-hour activity cycle during treatment with a casein kinase 1 inhibitor. The normal cycle persisted throughout treatment.