The Phase-Shifting Effect of Bright Light Exposure on Circadian Rhythmicity in the Human Transcriptome.

TitleThe Phase-Shifting Effect of Bright Light Exposure on Circadian Rhythmicity in the Human Transcriptome.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsKervezee L, Cuesta M, Cermakian N, Boivin DB
JournalJ Biol Rhythms
Date Published2019 Jan 08

Light is a potent synchronizer of the central circadian clock; however, the effect of light exposure on peripheral gene expression is largely unknown. The objective of this study was to explore the effect of bright light exposure on genome-wide peripheral gene expression levels during a 4-day simulated night shift protocol in which the habitual sleep period is delayed by 10 h. Eleven healthy participants (mean age, 24 years; range, 18-30; 10 men/1 woman) were studied under controlled laboratory conditions. Three participants were exposed to bright light (~6,500 lux) for 8 h during the nightly waking period, while the other 8 were maintained in dim-light conditions (~10 lux). At baseline and on the fourth day after the shift in the sleep period, blood samples were collected during two 24-h measurement periods. RNA was extracted from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and used to obtain transcriptomic data. Using 2 independent approaches to determine phase shifts among rhythmically expressed genes after the shifted sleep schedule compared with baseline, we found that the average phase delay in the bright light group was approximately 8 to 9 h, whereas the average phase delay in the control group was approximately 1 to 2 h, both at the group level and at the individual level. In line with these findings, further analysis using partial least squares regression indicated that the peripheral circadian transcriptome of PBMCs was predictive of the phase of the central circadian pacemaker after only 3 days of bright light exposure. These results indicate that bright light exposure exerts a phase-shifting effect on the circadian transcriptome in PBMCs with a magnitude similar to its effect on the central circadian clock.

Alternate JournalJ. Biol. Rhythms
PubMed ID30621487

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