Friday, May 23, 2008

Are you a morning person? - mood and body clocks

From from PJH at editor's choice, Science Magazine.
Some neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, have been implicated in adjusting a person's mood. The circadian clock mechanisms, meanwhile, keep the organism's physiology tuned for appropriate responses to day or night. Hampp et al. have demonstrated how the molecular signaling pathways for circadian rhythms might intersect with the brain's establishment of general mood. They found that the promoter of the gene encoding monoamine oxidase A (Maoa), which stabilizes some aspects of mood and breaks down dopamine and serotonin, contains binding sites for several clock proteins and showed that circadian oscillation was driven by the Maoa promoter in neuroblastoma cells. Mice lacking Per2, a gene that stabilizes circadian rhythms, showed damped expression from the Maoa promoter. Observations of the Per2 mutant mice in response to an unavoidable problematic situation--taken as a proxy for despair in humans--showed correlations with disorders of mood.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:46 PM

    Does this mean that the 'spring forward' 'fall back' horrible horrible time changes foisted upon us by political hacks is actually a bad thing? (I think it's awful and counterproductive regardless of whatever the 'product' is in this case.) It takes my cats several weeks to adjust. They are my alarm clocks. Therefore I have concerns especially since the 'spring forward' business has been sprung forward an extra 6 weeks thus negating all the positive effects of light at 6 a.m. My pineal doth protest.

    G. Kadar
    Toronto, Canada