THURSDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Genes that regulate insulin in the body also play a role in the timing of the body's sleep-wake cycle, researchers say, and this finding that could potentially lead to treatments for disorders that arise when circadian rhythms are disrupted.
The insulin-control system, which governs how the body processes sugar, may also reset our internal clock, according to the study published online Sept. 17 in Cell.
"People knew that the clock regulates many different processes, but what they didn't realize was that when you tweak those processes, it feeds back and alters the clock," study co-author Steve Kay, dean of the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of California San Diego, said in a university news release.
"What came out very strongly was this close relationship between circadian regulation and insulin signaling," Kay explained. "There's a reciprocal relationship between circadian dysfunction and metabolic dysfunction."
According to Kay, mice with malfunctioning internal clocks get fat and develop diabetes. Chronic jetlag may cause similar problems in people, he noted.
"Understanding this close relationship between circadian regulation and metabolic homeostasis should provide novel ways of identifying new therapies for metabolic disease," Kay said.
Learn more about the body clock from Penn State.
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