Circadian rhythm science has also pointed the way to rational interventions for the SWD and JLD, and these treatments have been introduced into the practice of sleep medicine with varying degrees of success. More translational research is needed using subjects who meet current diagnostic criteria.
Circadian rhythm science has also pointed the way to rational interventions for CRSDs and these treatments have been introduced into the practice of sleep medicine with varying degrees of success. More translational research is needed using subjects who meet current diagnostic criteria.
Older people typically exhibit poor sleep efficiency and reduced nocturnal plasma melatonin levels. The daytime administration of oral melatonin to younger people, in doses that raise their plasma melatonin levels to the nocturnal range, can accelerate sleep onset. We examined the ability of similar, physiological doses to restore nighttime melatonin levels and sleep efficiency in insomniac subjects over 50 yr old. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, subjects who slept normally (n = 15) or exhibited actigraphically confirmed decreases in sleep efficiency (n = 15) received, in randomized order, a placebo and three melatonin doses (0.1, 0.3, and 3.0 mg) orally 30 min before bedtime for a week. Treatments were separated by 1-wk washout periods. Sleep data were obtained by polysomnography on the last three nights of each treatment period. The physiologic melatonin dose (0.3 mg) restored sleep efficiency (P < 0.0001), acting principally in the midthird of the night; it also elevated plasma melatonin levels (P < 0.0008) to normal. The pharmacologic dose (3.0 mg), like the lowest dose (0.1 mg), also improved sleep; however, it induced hypothermia and caused plasma melatonin to remain elevated into the daylight hours. Although control subjects, like insomniacs, had low melatonin levels, their sleep was unaffected by any melatonin dose.
Changes in the expression of the dopamine transporter (DAT), or the sensitivity of dopamine receptors, are associated with aging and substance abuse and may underlie some of the symptoms common to both conditions. In this study, we explored the role of the dopaminergic system in the anxiogenic effects of aging and acute cocaine exposure by comparing the behavioral phenotypes of wildtype (WT) and DAT knockout zebrafish (DAT-KO) of different ages. To determine the involvement of specific dopamine receptors in anxiety states, antagonists to D1 (SCH23390) and D2/D3 (sulpiride) were employed. We established that DAT-KO results in a chronic anxiety-like state, seen as an increase in bottom-dwelling and thigmotaxis. Similar effects were produced by aging and acute cocaine administration, both leading to reduction in DAT mRNA abundance (qPCR). Inhibition of D1 activity counteracted the anxiety-like effects associated with DAT deficit, independent of its origin. Inhibition of D2/D3 receptors reduced anxiety in young DAT-KO, enhanced the anxiogenic effects of cocaine in WT, but did not affect aged WT or DAT-KO fish. These findings provide new evidence that the dopaminergic system plays a critical role in anxiety-like states, and suggest that adult zebrafish provide a sensitive diurnal vertebrate model for elucidating the molecular mechanisms of anxiety and a platform for anxiolytic drug screens.
Activation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2), an endothelial cell receptor tyrosine kinase, promotes tumor angiogenesis and ocular neovascularization. We report the methylation of VEGFR-2 at multiple Lys and Arg residues, including Lys1041, a residue that is proximal to the activation loop of the kinase domain. Methylation of VEGFR-2 was independent of ligand binding and was not regulated by ligand stimulation. Methylation of Lys1041 enhanced tyrosine phosphorylation and kinase activity in response to ligands. Additionally, interfering with the methylation of VEGFR-2 by pharmacological inhibition or by site-directed mutagenesis revealed that methylation of Lys1041 was required for VEGFR-2–mediated angiogenesis in zebrafish and tumor growth in mice. We propose that methylation of Lys1041 promotes the activation of VEGFR-2 and that similar posttranslational modification could also regulate the activity of other receptor tyrosine kinases.
The circadian system may regulate adult neurogenesis via intracellular molecular clock mechanisms or by modifying the environment of neurogenic niches, with daily variation in growth factors or nutrients depending on the animal's diurnal or nocturnal lifestyle. In a diurnal vertebrate, zebrafish, we studied circadian distribution of immunohistochemical markers of the cell division cycle (CDC) in 5 of the 16 neurogenic niches of adult brain, the dorsal telencephalon, habenula, preoptic area, hypothalamus, and cerebellum. We find that common to all niches is the morning initiation of G1/S transition and daytime S-phase progression, overnight increase in G2/M, and cycle completion by late night. This is supported by the timing of gene expression for critical cell cycle regulators cyclins D, A2, and B2 and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p20 in brain tissue. The early-night peak in p20, limiting G1/S transition, and its phase angle with the expression of core clock genes, Clock1 and Per1, are preserved in constant darkness, suggesting intrinsic circadian patterns of cell cycle progression. The statistical modeling of CDC kinetics reveals the significant circadian variation in cell proliferation rates across all of the examined niches, but interniche differences in the magnitude of circadian variation in CDC, S-phase length, phase angle of entrainment to light or clock, and its dispersion. We conclude that, in neurogenic niches of an adult diurnal vertebrate, the circadian modulation of cell cycle progression involves both systemic and niche-specific factors.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT This study establishes that in neurogenic niches of an adult diurnal vertebrate, the cell cycle progression displays a robust circadian pattern. Common to neurogenic niches located in diverse brain regions is daytime progression of DNA replication and nighttime mitosis, suggesting systemic regulation. Differences between neurogenic niches in the phase and degree of S-phase entrainment to the clock suggest additional roles for niche-specific regulatory mechanisms. Understanding the circadian regulation of adult neurogenesis can help optimize the timing of therapeutic approaches in patients with brain traumas or neurodegenerative disorders and preserve neural stem cells during cytostatic cancer therapies.
Experimental data show a close relationship among melatonin, circadian rhythms, and sleep. Low-dose melatonin treatment, increasing circulating melatonin levels to those normally observed at night, promotes sleep onset and sleep maintenance without changing sleep architecture. Melatonin treatment can also advance or delay the phase of the circadian clock if administered in the evening or in the morning, respectively. If used in physiologic doses and at appropriate times, melatonin can be helpful for those suffering from insomnia or circadian rhythm disorders. This may be especially beneficial for individuals with low melatonin production, which is established by measuring individual blood or saliva melatonin levels. However, high melatonin doses (over 0.3 mg) may cause side effects and disrupt the delicate mechanism of the circadian system, dissociating mutually dependent circadian body rhythms. A misleading labeling of the hormone melatonin as a "food supplement" and lack of quality control over melatonin preparations on the market continue to be of serious concern.
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