bims-ciryme Biomed News
on Circadian rhythms and metabolism
Issue of 2022‒02‒06
five papers selected by
Gabriela Da Silva Xavier
University of Birmingham

  1. Sci Rep. 2022 Jan 31. 12(1): 1601
      24-h rhythms in physiology and behaviour are orchestrated by an endogenous circadian clock system. In mammals, these clocks are hierarchically organized with a master pacemaker residing in the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). External time signals-so-called zeitgebers-align internal with geophysical time. During shift work, zeitgeber input conflicting with internal time induces circadian desynchrony which, in turn, promotes metabolic and psychiatric disorders. However, little is known about how internal desynchrony is expressed at the molecular level under chronodisruptive environmental conditions. We here investigated the effects of zeitgeber misalignment on circadian molecular organisation by combining 28-h light-dark (LD-28) cycles with either 24-h (FF-24) or 28-h feeding-fasting (FF-28) regimes in mice. We found that FF cycles showed strong effects on peripheral clocks, while having little effect on centrally coordinated activity rhythms. Systemic, i.e., across-tissue internal circadian desynchrony was profoundly induced within four days in LD-28/FF-24, while phase coherence between tissue clocks was maintained to a higher degree under LD-28/FF-28 conditions. In contrast, temporal coordination of clock gene activity across tissues was reduced under LD-28/FF-28 conditions compared to LD-28/FF-24. These results indicate that timed food intake may improve internal synchrony under disruptive zeitgeber conditions but may, at the same time, weaken clock function at the tissue level.
  2. Diabetologia. 2022 Feb 02.
      AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: In our modern society, artificial light is available around the clock and most people expose themselves to electrical light and light-emissive screens during the dark period of the natural light/dark cycle. Such suboptimal lighting conditions have been associated with adverse metabolic effects, and redesigning indoor lighting conditions to mimic the natural light/dark cycle more closely holds promise to improve metabolic health. Our objective was to compare metabolic responses to lighting conditions that resemble the natural light/dark cycle in contrast to suboptimal lighting in individuals at risk of developing metabolic diseases.METHODS: Therefore, we here performed a non-blinded, randomised, controlled, crossover trial in which overweight insulin-resistant volunteers (n = 14) were exposed to two 40 h laboratory sessions with different 24 h lighting protocols while staying in a metabolic chamber under real-life conditions. In the Bright day-Dim evening condition, volunteers were exposed to electric bright light (~1250 lx) during the daytime (08:00-18:00 h) and to dim light (~5 lx) during the evening (18:00-23:00 h). Vice versa, in the Dim day-Bright evening condition, volunteers were exposed to dim light during the daytime and bright light during the evening. Randomisation and allocation to light conditions were carried out by sequential numbering. During both lighting protocols, we performed 24 h indirect calorimetry, and continuous core body and skin temperature measurements, and took frequent blood samples. The primary outcome was plasma glucose focusing on the pre- and postprandial periods of the intervention.
    RESULTS: Spending the day in bright light resulted in a greater increase in postprandial triacylglycerol levels following breakfast, but lower glucose levels preceding the dinner meal at 18:00 h, compared with dim light (5.0 ± 0.2 vs 5.2 ± 0.2 mmol/l, n = 13, p=0.02). Dim day-Bright evening reduced the increase in postprandial glucose after dinner compared with Bright day-Dim evening (incremental AUC: 307 ± 55 vs 394 ± 66 mmol/l × min, n = 13, p=0.009). After the Bright day-Dim evening condition the sleeping metabolic rate was identical compared with the baseline night, whereas it dropped after Dim day-Bright evening. Melatonin secretion in the evening was strongly suppressed for Dim day-Bright evening but not for Bright day-Dim evening. Distal skin temperature for Bright day-Dim evening was lower at 18:00 h (28.8 ± 0.3°C vs 29.9 ± 0.4°C, n = 13, p=0.039) and higher at 23:00 h compared with Dim day-Bright evening (30.1 ± 0.3°C vs 28.8 ± 0.3°C, n = 13, p=0.006). Fasting and postprandial plasma insulin levels and the respiratory exchange ratio were not different between the two lighting protocols at any time.
    CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: Together, these findings suggest that the indoor light environment modulates postprandial substrate handling, energy expenditure and thermoregulation of insulin-resistant volunteers in a time-of-day-dependent manner.
    FUNDING: We acknowledge the financial support from the Netherlands Cardiovascular Research Initiative: an initiative with support from the Dutch Heart Foundation (CVON2014-02 ENERGISE).
    Keywords:  Biological clock; Circadian rhythm; Glucose intolerance; Insulin resistance; Light at night; Light exposure; Melatonin; Postprandial metabolism; Sleeping metabolic rate
  3. Sci Rep. 2022 Feb 02. 12(1): 1796
      An emerging link between circadian clock function and neurodegeneration has indicated a critical role for the molecular clock in brain health. We previously reported that deletion of the core circadian clock gene Bmal1 abrogates clock function and induces cell-autonomous astrocyte activation. Regulation of astrocyte activation has important implications for protein aggregation, inflammation, and neuronal survival in neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, we investigated how astrocyte activation induced by Bmal1 deletion regulates astrocyte gene expression, amyloid-beta (Aβ) plaque-associated activation, and plaque deposition. To address these questions, we crossed astrocyte-specific Bmal1 knockout mice (Aldh1l1-CreERT2;Bmal1fl/fl, termed BMAL1 aKO), to the APP/PS1-21 and the APPNL-G-F models of Aβ accumulation. Transcriptomic profiling showed that BMAL1 aKO induced a unique transcriptional profile affecting genes involved in both the generation and elimination of Aβ. BMAL1 aKO mice showed exacerbated astrocyte activation around Aβ plaques and altered gene expression. However, this astrogliosis did not affect plaque accumulation or neuronal dystrophy in either model. Our results demonstrate that the striking astrocyte activation induced by Bmal1 knockout does not influence Aβ deposition, which indicates that the effect of astrocyte activation on plaque pathology in general is highly dependent on the molecular mechanism of activation.
  4. Nat Commun. 2022 Feb 03. 13(1): 681
      While studies suggest that light and feeding patterns can reset circadian rhythms in various metabolites, whether these shifts follow a predictable pattern is unknown. We describe the first phase response curves (PRC) for lipids and hepatic proteins in response to combined light and food stimuli. The timing of plasma rhythms was assessed by constant routine before and after exposure to a combined 6.5-hour blue light exposure and standard meal schedule, which was systematically varied by ~20° between in0000dividuals. We find that the rhythms shift according to a PRC, with generally greater shifts for lipids and liver proteins than for melatonin. PRC timing varies relative to the stimulus, with albumin and triglyceride PRCs peaking at a time similar to melatonin whereas the cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein PRCs are offset by ~12 h. These data have important implications for treating circadian misalignment in shiftworkers who consume meals and are exposed to light around the clock.
  5. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2022 Jan 31. pii: a039107. [Epub ahead of print]
      Sex as a biological variable is the focus of much literature and has been emphasized by the National Institutes of Health, in part, to remedy a long history of male-dominated studies in preclinical and clinical research. We propose that time-of-day is also a crucial biological variable in biomedical research. In common with sex differences, time-of-day should be considered in analyses and reported to improve reproducibility of studies and to provide the appropriate context to the conclusions. Endogenous circadian rhythms are present in virtually all living organisms, including bacteria, plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates. Virtually all physiological and behavioral processes display daily fluctuations in optimal performance that are driven by these endogenous circadian clocks; importantly, many of those circadian rhythms also show sex differences. In this review, we describe some of the documented sex differences in circadian rhythms.