Fri, 06 Apr 2012 08:28:14 GMT

Blueprint of body''s biological clock ''redrawn''

London, Apr 6 (PTI) Scientists have redrawn the body''s biological clock, that they claim may soon pave the way for new drugs to treat sleep problems and metabolic disorders, including diabetes.

This is after an international team, led by the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, discovered a major gear in the biological clock, the ''Nature'' journal reported.

In fact, the scientists showed that two cellular switches found on the nucleus of mouse cells, known as REV-ERB? and REV-ERB?, are essential for maintaining normal sleeping and eating cycles and for metabolism of nutrients from food.

The findings describe a powerful link between circadian rhythms and metabolism and suggest a new avenue for treating disorders of both systems, including jet lag, sleep disorders, obesity and diabetes.

"This fundamentally changes our knowledge about the workings of the circadian clock and how it orchestrates our sleep-wake cycles, when we eat and even the times our bodies metabolise nutrients," said Ronald Evans.

"Nuclear receptors can be targeted with drugs, which suggests we might be able to target REV-ERB? and ? to treat disorders of sleep and metabolism," he added.

In mammals, the circadian timing system is orchestrated by a central clock in the brain and subsidiary clocks in most other organs. The master clock in the brain is set by light and determines the overall diurnal or nocturnal preference of an animal, including sleep-wake cycles and feeding behaviour.

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