Researchers Discover A Clock Gene That Connects Mood and Sleep

In our highly competitive world, getting adequate sleep is becoming a challenge. Sleep deficiency is becoming a common phenomenon affecting almost everyone. Directly, it can alter mood, and when the problem becomes chronic, a long-term mood issue, such as depression may occur.

Experts from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), Louis Ptáček and Ying-Hui Fu, the lead investigators discovered the reason for the findings. In their recently published research, the authors linked to sleep and depression to a faulty gene called PER3.

Their research involved genetically modified mice carrying two copies of flawed PER3. They discovered that the rodents exposed to only four hours of light per day stopped running after four hours, compared to the unmodified mice. The investigators believed that the faulty version of PER3 altered the animals’ circadian rhythms.

Similarly, the other team tested the mood of the mice. A tail-dangling test was done to determine the mood of the mice. They discovered that the genetically modified mice haulted dangling their tails quickly compared to the other unaltered mice. Moreover, the mice that carried the faulty PER3 also showed an irregular pattern of sleep.

Ptáček found the findings dramatic. The team suggested that PER3 connects the pathways between mood and the biological clock.

He added that they believed there is a strong connection between sleep and depression. However, no one has been able to uncover the biological link yet. He stressed that the “PER3 is the connection between pathways related to mood and the biological clock.”

Despite their initial findings, the research did not include a specific mood disorder therapy, as part of their research recommendations. Instead, Ptáček hopes that their study may direct related research in the right direction and be more rational in searching for the right drug to treat a seasonal affective disorder, he concluded.

Their research was published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, February 22, 2016.

 

Reference: Clock gene may connect mood and sleep HOWARD HUGHES MEDICAL INSTITUTE, http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-02/hhmi-cgm021916.php

 

Author: Amabelle Equio,  Ph.D candidate in Nursing at Silliman University, Health, Fitness, Medical Writer, Photography Enthusiast.

 

 

 

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