Circadian rhythms and disease: a link
Meng Qu, a research associate at the Michelson Center and the first author of the study, said “Mutations in [the] HNF4A gene are known to contribute to a rare hereditary form of diabetes called MODY1, and its expression dysregulation has been closely linked to liver cancer, both with mechanisms we don’t fully understand. Our discovery suggests the clock disruption could be a potential mechanism and provides a bridge between circadian regulation and development of disease.”
Kay added: “The study will help us understand how disruption of our highly evolved circadian lifestyle is making us ill. Humans are not evolved for night shifts, nighttime lights and intercontinental travel. Modern-life challenges to our circadian system present a long-term threat to our health. Now we can see how HNF4A is a new chapter in a book that was mostly blank pages, so there’s a story beginning there as we fill in a huge blank spot.”
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