bims-ciryme Biomed News
on Circadian rhythms and metabolism
Issue of 2020‒08‒30
three papers selected by
Gabriela Da Silva Xavier
University of Birmingham

  1. Nat Commun. 2020 Aug 27. 11(1): 4291
      The annual photoperiod cycle provides the critical environmental cue synchronizing rhythms of life in seasonal habitats. In 1936, Bünning proposed a circadian-based coincidence timer for photoperiodic synchronization in plants. Formal studies support the universality of this so-called coincidence timer, but we lack understanding of the mechanisms involved. Here we show in mammals that long photoperiods induce the circadian transcription factor BMAL2, in the pars tuberalis of the pituitary, and triggers summer biology through the eyes absent/thyrotrophin (EYA3/TSH) pathway. Conversely, long-duration melatonin signals on short photoperiods induce circadian repressors including DEC1, suppressing BMAL2 and the EYA3/TSH pathway, triggering winter biology. These actions are associated with progressive genome-wide changes in chromatin state, elaborating the effect of the circadian coincidence timer. Hence, circadian clock-pituitary epigenetic pathway interactions form the basis of the mammalian coincidence timer mechanism. Our results constitute a blueprint for circadian-based seasonal timekeeping in vertebrates.
  2. Front Nutr. 2020 ;7 116
      Shift work is commonplace in modern societies, and shift workers are predisposed to the development of numerous chronic diseases. Disruptions to the circadian systems of shift workers are considered important contributors to the biological dysfunction these people frequently experience. Because of this, understanding how to alter shift work and zeitgeber (time cue) schedules to enhance circadian system function is likely to be key to improving the health of shift workers. While light exposure is the most important zeitgeber for the central clock in the circadian system, diet and exercise are plausible zeitgebers for circadian clocks in many tissues. We know little about how different zeitgebers interact and how to tailor zeitgeber schedules to the needs of individuals; however, in this review we share some guidelines to help shift workers adapt to their work schedules based on our current understanding of circadian biology. We focus in particular on the importance of diet timing and composition. Going forward, developments in phenotyping and "envirotyping" methods may be important to understanding how to optimise shift work. Non-invasive, multimodal, comprehensive phenotyping using multiple sources of time-stamped data may yield insights that are critical to the care of shift workers. Finally, the impact of these advances will be reduced without modifications to work environments to make it easier for shift workers to engage in behaviours conducive to their health. Integrating findings from behavioural science and ergonomics may help shift workers make healthier choices, thereby amplifying the beneficial effects of improved lifestyle prescriptions for these people.
    Keywords:  chronomedicine; chrononutrition; chronotherapy; circadian disruption; light exposure; physical activity; shift work; time-restricted eating
  3. Sleep. 2020 Aug 27. pii: zsaa163. [Epub ahead of print]
    Keywords:  actigraphy; biomarker; circadian misalignment; polysomnography; sleep disorders; sleep tracker; wearable