University of Southern California (USC) scientists report that a novel time-keeping mechanism within liver cells that helps sustain a key organ tasks can contribute to diseases when its natural rhythm is disrupted as reported in EurekAlert! This dual function of the nuclear receptor protein HNF4A offers a potential explanation for diseases such as diabetes and cancers. It also helps explain why such maladies are more common for people living with disrupted sleep, including night-shift workers, urban dwellers and international jet-setters.
Circadian rhythms are guided by internal clocks in cells that enable organisms to adapt to night and day cycles. Disruption of this cycle can lead to health problems in people, so scientists study cell behavior to see how the interrupted clock can cause diseases – an important step toward targeted medical treatments.
Lead Research/InvestigatorSource: Eurek Alert