In mammals, light is essential in order for the body to function properly. This response to light is controlled in our bodies by a biological clock. Like well-oiled clockwork, the central clock located in a small structure of the brain known as the hypothalamus in turn synchronises numerous secondary clocks present in other areas of the brain, and in some peripheral organs. These clocks control the expression of many genes that allow the body to adapt to the environment on a daily basis.
A disruption in the molecular components of the biological clock is often associated with psychiatric disorders, but the question of causality has remained unanswered until now.
To tackle this question, a team of Inserm researchers led by Emmanuel Valjent (ATIP/Avenir Team, Inserm Unit 661, Institute for Functional Genomics, Montpellier), evaluated a range of behaviours associated with psychiatric illnesses, using mice in which two essential genes for the circadian clock (cryptochrome 1 and cryptochrome 2) had been inactivated.
Their work demonstrated causal relationships between the disruption of genes encoding the cryptochrome 1 and 2 proteins (Cry1 and 2) and anxiety-related behaviours.
This is reflected in rodents by an increased aversion to open spaces. Interestingly, mice deficient in either of the Cry1 or Cry2 proteins, in which the biological clock is only slightly altered, showed the same behavioural changes.
These results clearly indicate that, apart from their critical roles in the regulation of the molecular clock, these proteins are directly involved in controlling the emotional state. This study, published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience, enables a better understanding of the complex relationship between the biological clock and behaviours associated with psychiatric illnesses such as anxiety.
Between now and 2050, the number of people aged over 60 years is set to double according to estimates by the World Health Organisation, thus going from 65 million to 2 billion. Seniors may then represent 22% of the world population in ...
Depression is a real public health issue with 8% of adolescents affected by it, according to the French National Authority for Health (HAS). Adolescence is a time of transition during which young people are prone to episodes of depression. This often complicates ...
Cognitive dysfunction, elevated anxiety, and reduced cocaine response in circadian clock-deficient cryptochrome knockout mice
Dimitri De Bundel1,2,3*†, Giuseppe Gangarossa1,2,3†, Anne Biever1,2,3, Xavier Bonnefont1,2,3 and Emmanuel Valjent1,2,3*
1CNRS, UMR-5203, Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle, Montpellier, France
2INSERM, U661, Montpellier, France
3Universités de Montpellier 1 and 2, UMR-5203, Montpellier, France
(Français) La composition du microbiote intestinal prédit l’efficacité et la tolérance de l’immunothérapie du cancer chez l’homme
Sickle cell disease : remission of disease symptoms in the world’s first patient treated using gene therapy
(Français) Exposition in utero aux perturbateurs endocriniens : les leçons du distilbène
Brand new intervertebral discs for back pain