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Circadian rhythm disturbances found to be common in mental health disorders

To summarize: Circadian rhythm disturbance is a psychopathological factor shared by a wide range of psychiatric disorders.

resource: UC Irvine

Anxiety, autism, schizophrenia and Tourette syndrome each have unique features, but link these to most other mental disorders, according to a team of neuroscience, pharmaceutical science and computer science researchers at the University of California, Irvine One factor that arises is circadian rhythm disruption. .

In a recent article published in the journal Nature Translational Psychiatryscientists have hypothesized that CRD is a psychopathological factor shared by a wide range of psychiatric disorders, and that research on its molecular basis may hold the key to unlocking better therapies and treatments.

“Circadian rhythms play an important role in all biological systems at all scales, from molecules to populations,” said senior author Pierre Baldi, UCI Distinguished Professor of Computer Science. “Our analysis found that circadian rhythm disturbance is a factor that broadly overlaps the entire spectrum of mental health disorders.”

Lead author Amal Alachkar, a neuroscientist and teaching professor in UCI’s Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, noted the challenges of testing the team’s hypothesis at the molecular level, but said the researchers found ample evidence for the link by thoroughly examining the peer-reviewed literature. Pervasive mental health disorders.

“In every disease there are signs of circadian disruption — sleep problems –” Alachkar said.

“While our focus is on well-known disorders, including autism, ADHD, and bipolar disorder, we believe that the CRD psychopathological factor hypothesis can be generalized to other mental health problems, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa disease, food addiction and Parkinson’s disease.”

The circadian rhythm regulates our body’s physiological activities and biological processes each solar day. Synchronized with a 24-hour light/dark cycle, the circadian rhythm affects when we normally need to sleep and wake up.

They also manage other functions, such as hormone production and release, body temperature maintenance, and memory consolidation. According to the authors of the paper, the efficient, uninterrupted operation of this natural timing system is necessary for the survival of all living things.

Circadian rhythms are inherently sensitive to light/dark cues, so they are easily disturbed by light at night, and the degree of interference appears to be sex-related and age-dependent. An example is the hormonal response to CRD in pregnant women. Both mother and fetus experience the clinical effects of CRD and chronic stress.

“An intriguing question we explored was the interplay between circadian rhythms and mental disorders and sexuality,” said Baldi, director of UCI’s Institute for Genomics and Bioinformatics. “For example, Tourette’s syndrome is predominantly found in men, and Alzheimer’s disease is more common in women, at about two-thirds to one-third.”

Age is also an important factor, as CRD affects early neurodevelopment in addition to causing aging-related mental disorders in older adults, according to scientists.

An important unanswered question, Baldi said, centers on the causal relationship between CRD and mental health disorders: Is CRD a key factor in the origin and onset of these disorders, or is it a self-reinforcing symptom in disease progression?

To answer this and other questions, the UCI-led team proposes examining CRD at the molecular level using transcriptomic (gene expression) and metabolomic techniques in mouse models.

The circadian rhythm regulates our body’s physiological activities and biological processes each solar day.Image is in the public domain

“This will be a high-throughput process, with researchers taking samples from healthy and diseased subjects every few hours during the day-night cycle,” Baldi said.

“This method can be applied to humans in limited circumstances, as only serum samples can actually be used, but it can be applied on a large scale in animal models, especially mice, by sampling tissues from different brain regions and different organs, in addition to Serum. These are extensive and painstaking experiments that could benefit from having a consortium of laboratories.”

He added that if age, sex, and brain regions were experimented in a systematic way to study circadian rhythm before and during disease progression, it would help the mental health research community to identify potential biomarkers, causality and new treatments. goals and pathways.

The project involves scientists from UCI’s Departments of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Center for Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Departments of Computer Science, Departments of Neurobiology and Behavior, and the Institute for Genomics and Bioinformatics; and Oppenheimer at UCLA Center for Stress and Recovery Neurobiology and the Goodman-Raskin Center for the Microbiome.

funds: Financial support was provided by the National Institutes of Health.

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About this mental health research news

author: Brian Bell
resource: UC Irvine
touch: Brian Bell – UC Irvine
picture: Image is in the public domain

Original research: Open access.
“The Hidden Link Between Circadian Entropy and Mental Health Disorders” by Pierre Baldi et al. Translational Psychiatry


Hidden link between circadian entropy and mental health disorders

The highly overlapping nature of various features across multiple mental health disorders suggests the presence of common psychopathological factors (p-factors) that mediate similar phenotypic manifestations in different but related disorders.

From this perspective, we suggest that circadian rhythm disturbance (CRD) is a common underlying p-factor that crosses mental health barriers in its age and gender context.

We present and analyze evidence from the literature for the critical role circadian rhythms play in regulating mental, emotional, and behavioral function across the lifespan.

A review of the literature suggests that gross CRD, such as sleep disruption, is prevalent across all mental health disorders at the level of etiology and pathophysiology, as well as clinical phenotypes.

Finally, we discuss the subtle interactions of CRD and sex with these disorders at different life stages.

Our views underscore the need to move research to the molecular level, for example, by using spatiotemporal circadian ‘omics’ studies in animal models to determine the complex and causal relationship between CRD and mental health disorders.

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