The internal clock and feeding rhythm set the pace of the liver

January 15, 2014

Living organisms have adapted to the day-night cycle and, in most cases, they have evolved a "circadian clock". Its effects are not completely known yet but its functioning has been shown to have important metabolic consequences for the body. Disruption of normal circadian rhythms can have deleterious effects on health; for example lack of sleep is linked with obesity, and the time of feeding was shown to affect the ability to control body weight.

Scientists from the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS) and the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), supported by a 2012 grant from the Swiss Leenaards Foundation originally awarded to the Université de Lausanne, have found that in the case of the liver, the rhythm of protein production and release is dictated by both the organisms' feeding behaviors and their . The current study was published last week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).

The researchers, under the direction of Frédéric Gachon (NIHS) and Felix Naef (EPFL), analyzed with mass spectrometry, one of the new analytical tools currently available that allow a closer inspection of the real impact of this clock on some biological processes, in particular at a level of temporal protein abundance. They measured the concentration of more than 5000 different proteins – whereas previous techniques only allowed the identification a few hundreds at best.

The results suggest that the does not only influence the production of proteins by the genes, but also the way the liver regulated the storage and release of proteins into the body. "Our experiments seem to prove that the pace set by feeding patterns takes precedence over the circadian rhythm. However, it appears that the strongest effect takes place when these two rhythms overlap", said Frédéric Gachon.

As a next step, this research will attempt to translate some of these results to humans. "Our work will help develop strategies focused on diet to help treat patients suffering from disorders associated to circadian dysfunctions" said Felix Naef.

Explore further: Circadian rhythms control body's response to intestinal infections

Related Stories

Nutrition influences metabolism through circadian rhythms

December 19, 2013

A high-fat diet affects the molecular mechanism controlling the internal body clock that regulates metabolic functions in the liver, UC Irvine scientists have found. Disruption of these circadian rhythms may contribute to ...

Recommended for you

Flu study, on hold, yields new vaccine technology

September 2, 2015

Vaccines to protect against an avian influenza pandemic as well as seasonal flu may be mass produced more quickly and efficiently using technology described today by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the ...

We've all got a blind spot, but it can be shrunk

August 31, 2015

You've probably never noticed, but the human eye includes an unavoidable blind spot. That's because the optic nerve that sends visual signals to the brain must pass through the retina, which creates a hole in that light-sensitive ...

Biologists identify mechanisms of embryonic wound repair

August 31, 2015

It's like something out of a science-fiction movie - time-lapse photography showing how wounds in embryos of fruit flies heal themselves. The images are not only real; they shed light on ways to improve wound recovery in ...

New 'Tissue Velcro' could help repair damaged hearts

August 28, 2015

Engineers at the University of Toronto just made assembling functional heart tissue as easy as fastening your shoes. The team has created a biocompatible scaffold that allows sheets of beating heart cells to snap together ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.