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The photobiology of the human circadian clock

Research group Swaab
Publication year 2022
Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Authors Robin A Schoonderwoerd, Mischa de Rover, Jan A M Janse, Lydiane Hirschler, Channa R Willemse, Leonie Scholten, Ilse Klop, Sander van Berloo, Matthias J P van Osch, D.F. Swaab, Johanna H Meijer

SignificanceThe function of our biological clock is dependent on environmental light. Rodent studies have shown that there are multiple colors that affect the clock, but indirect measures in humans suggest blue light is key. We performed functional MRI studies in human subjects with unprecedented spatial resolution to investigate color sensitivity of our clock. Here, we show that narrowband blue, green, and orange light were all effective in changing neuronal activity of the clock. While the clock of nocturnal rodents is excited by light, the human clock responds with a decrease in neuronal activity as indicated by a negative BOLD response. The sensitivity of the clock to multiple colors should be integrated in light therapy aimed to strengthen our 24-h rhythms.

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