have found a genetic mechanism in mice that hampers their body clock's ability
to adjust to changes in patterns of light and dark, and say their results could
someday lead to the development of drugs to combat jet lag.
from Britain's Oxford University and from the Swiss drug firm Roche used mice
to analyze patterns of genes in an area of the brain called the suprachiasmatic
nuclei (SCN) – which in mammals pulls every cell in the body into the same
that one molecule, called SIK1, was key to how the mice responded to changes in
Mouse jet lag
scientists blocked the activity of SIK1, the mice recovered faster from
disturbances in their daily light and dark cycle that had been designed to
induce a form of mouse jet lag.
corresponding mechanism can be found and similarly blocked in humans, jet lag
may become a thing of the past, the researchers said in their study, published
online in the journal Cell on Thursday.
still several years away from a cure for jet lag, but understanding the
mechanisms that generate and regulate our circadian clock gives us targets to
develop drugs to help bring our bodies in tune with the solar cycle," said
Russell Foster, director of Oxford's sleep and circadian neuroscience
institute. He said such drugs could also have broader potential value,
including for people with mental illnesses where sleep disturbances are common.