Retinal cells affect the body's biological clock

Retinal cells affect the body's biological clock

 

Monday, 17 April, 2017

Professor Mike Ludwig (Centre for Integrative Physiology) has found a new group of retinal cells (retinal ganglion cells) that detect light levels in the environment, and then send signals to a brain region that regulates our biological clock. Vasopressin-containing cells were previously thought to be present only in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) region of the brain but this research demonstrates the presence of vaospressin-containing retinal ganglion neurones in the eye which communicate directly with the SCN.

These results give insight into how the biological clock is regulated by light, and could be used in the potential development of new therapeutics in future including, perhaps, the development of eye drops to help control jet lag.