Friday, May 11, 2018 by Zoey Sky
To ensure that you stay healthy, you know you have to rest. Now, a study has revealed WHY we need to get enough sleep at night.
According to researchers from the University of Basel, “[cellular] energy metabolism also follows the rhythm of the circadian clock.” The study has explored exactly how this works by explaining the link between the circadian rhythm and the mitochondrial network for the first time.
There are various genetically controlled clocks inside different parts of our bodies, like our heart, kidneys, and liver. These clocks have all sorts of functions, one of which is triggering many metabolic processes to that these happen at the optimal time of day.
Mitochondria are small organelles that can be found in almost all our cells. Mitochondria also supply them with energy, and they are crucial in these cellular processes. Before this study, it was unknown how the 24-hour circadian rhythm controlled energy metabolism.
For the majority of the cells, mitochondria are linked to an ever-changing network that can adapt to different conditions. This means mitochondria can combine and then divide again. This also means that interruptions of this fission-fusion dynamic may cause health problems.
For the study, researchers have examined how the mitochondrial network interacts with the human internal biological clock through combined in vitro models and clock-deficient mice, or mice with deficient mitochondrial fission. (Related: Don’t get injured at night… Researchers discover cell repair driven by circadian rhythm; wounds heal 60% faster during the day.)
Based on the results, the mitochondrial fission-fusion cycle is regulated by the fission protein Drp1. This is then synchronized by an internal biological clock. This rhythm is significant when it comes to deciding when and how much energy the mitochondria can supply.
Professor Anne Eckert, the study leader from the University of Basel’s Transfaculty Research Platform Molecular and Cognitive Neurosciences MCN, said that the time of day helps determine the design of the mitochondrial network. This also affects the cells’ energy capacity.
The scientists also explained that the mitochondrial network is unable to maintain this rhythm once the circadian clock is impaired. The loss of this rhythm results in a decline in cell energy production.
In the same vein, pharmacologically or genetically impairing the Drp1 fission protein disrupts the energy production rhythm, which also influences the rhythm of the circadian clock.
The researchers noted that the findings from this study could be used to develop new therapeutic approaches that could be used on diseases which are characterized by a disrupted circadian clock and jeopardized mitochondrial function, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
If you wish to sleep better at night, try some of the tips below:
You can learn more about the circadian rhythm and how it affects the human body at Scientific.news.