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Fresh method developed to deal with jet lag
Jun 22, 2016

Scientists have designed new molecules that can modify the sleep/wake cycle, paving the way for improved treatments for jet lag and sleep disorders.

According to researchers, the negative impacts of jet lag and shift work could be significantly reduced if it were possible to reset our 24-hour natural circadian or sleep and wake cycle.

What is Jet lag:

Jet lag, also called desynchronosis and flight fatigue, is a temporary disorder that causes fatigue,insomnia, and other symptoms as a result of air travel across time zones. It is considered a circadian rhythmsleep disorder, which is a disruption of the internal body clock.
What is jet lag

What happens due to jet lag

  • Most living organisms, including humans, have a biological clock that resets every 24 hours, regulating functions such as sleep and wake cycles and metabolism. When this cycle is disrupted, like in jet lag, sleep disorders occur.
  • Long-term sleep loss may affect the cardiovascular, endocrine, immune and nervous systems with severe consequences including hypertension, obesity and mental health disorders, among others.

What actually happens:

Our biological clock is basically run by four "master regulator" proteins that work in tandem. CLOCK and BMAL1, when combined, promote the production of the proteins PER and CRY.

These proteins, in turn, block CLOCK and BMAL1, thus, closing the cycle.

This cycle of activation, production and stop or block goes around once a day and is also influenced by a compound called FBXL3, which flags CRY for degradation by cellular enzymes

What is there in research:

A molecule discovered in 2012, called KL001, lengthens the circadian cycle by competing with FBLX3 for the same spot on the CRY protein, preventing its degradation.

By analyzing its structure, researchers prepared compounds that were similar to KL001, thus synthesizing the first circadian shortening molecules that target the CRY protein.

These molecules act directly on one of our "clock proteins",

Where was research conducted:

Nagoya University's Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM) in Japan have synthesized molecules that can shorten the circadian period.

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