Circadian arrhythmia common among mental health disorders | UCI News

Irvine, CA, September 1, 2022 Anxiety, autism, schizophrenia, and Tourette syndrome each have their own distinct characteristics, but one factor that links these and most other mental disorders is a circadian rhythm disorder, according to a team of researchers in neurosciences, pharmaceutical sciences and computer sciences at the University of California, Irvine.

In an article recently published in Nature Translational psychiatryScientists hypothesize that CRD is a psychopathological factor shared by a wide range of mental illnesses and that research into its molecular basis could be key to unlocking better treatments and treatments.

“Circadian rhythms play an essential role in all biological systems at all levels, from molecules to populations,” said the study’s senior author. Pierre Baldy, UCI Distinguished Professor of Computer Science. “Our analysis found that circadian rhythm disruption is a factor that broadly overlaps with a whole range of mental health disorders.”

lead author Amal AshkarThe neuroscientist and teaching professor in UCI’s Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences noted the challenges of testing the team’s hypothesis at the molecular level, but said the researchers found ample evidence of the link through a thorough examination of the peer-reviewed literature on the most prevalent mental health disorders. .

“The obvious sign of a circadian rhythm disorder — a problem with sleep — was present in every disorder,” Al-Ashkar said. “While our focus has been on widely known conditions including autism, ADHD and bipolar disorder, we argue that the CRD psychopathological factor hypothesis can be generalized to other mental health issues, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia Neurological disease, food addiction and Parkinson’s disease.”

Circadian rhythms regulate the physiological activity and biological processes of our bodies during each solar day. Synchronized with the 24-hour light/dark cycle, circadian rhythms influence when we normally need to sleep and when we are awake. They also manage other functions such as producing and releasing hormones, maintaining body temperature and consolidating memories. According to the authors of the research paper, the efficient and uninterrupted operation of this natural timekeeping system is essential to the survival of all living things.

Circadian rhythms are intrinsically sensitive to light/dark signals, so they can be easily disrupted by exposure to light at night, and the level of disruption appears to be gender dependent and changes with age. One example is the hormonal response to CRD that pregnant women feel; Both mother and fetus can experience the clinical effects of chronic cardio-respiratory disease and stress.

said Baldy, director of UCI Institute of Genomics and Bioinformatics. “For example, Tourette’s syndrome is primarily found in males, and Alzheimer’s disease is more common in females by about two-thirds to one-third.”

Age is also an important factor, according to the scientists, as CRD can affect neurodevelopment in early life as well as lead to the emergence of age-related mental disorders among the elderly.

Baldy said there is an important unresolved issue that focuses on the causal relationship between CRD and mental health disorders: Is CRD a major player in the origin and emergence of these diseases, or are they self-reinforcing symptoms in disease progression?

To answer this question and others, the UCI-led team proposes examining CRD at the molecular level using transcription (gene expression) and metabolic techniques in mouse models.

“This will be a high-throughput process where researchers get samples from healthy and sick people every few hours along the daily cycle,” Baldy said. “This approach can be applied with limitations in humans, as only serum samples can really be used, but it can be widely applied in animal models, especially mice, by sampling tissues from different brain regions and different organs, as well as serum. These are experiments Intense and painstaking can benefit from having Consortium Labs.”

He added that if the experiments were conducted in a systematic manner with respect to age, gender and brain regions to investigate the circadian molecular rhythm before and during disease progression, it would help the mental health research community identify potential biomarkers, causal relationships, and new therapeutic targets and avenues.

Scientists from the UCI Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Neurobiology Center for Learning and Memory, the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, and the Institute of Genomics and Bioinformatics participated in the project; as well as the UCLA Oppenheimer Center for the Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience and the Goodman-Luskin Center for the Microbiome. The National Institutes of Health provided financial support.

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