Researchers from The University of Edinburgh have found a new group of retinal cells that directly impact the body's circadian rhythms, opening up new therapeutic possibilities for treating jet lag in people who travel or work night shifts.
The new research reportedly demonstrates for the first time that the retina has its own set of cells that communicate directly to the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) — a region of the brain that coordinates circadian rhythm using many different signaling molecules, such as the neurohormone vasopressin. Through a rat model, researchers reportedly interfered with the signaling of light information sent to the SCN, and through a series of physiological tests showed the vasopressin-expressing cells in the retina are directly involved in regulating circadian rhythms.
Researchers believe their findings may help lead to new pharmaceutical routes — such as an eye drop — to combat jet lag.
The study was recently published in the Journal of Physiology.
Click here to read the full press release.
Like what you read? Follow OptometryWeb to keep up with our latest articles, news and events. Plus, get special offers and more delivered to your inbox.
Source: The Physiological Society