“The Liver’s Essential Role in Regulating the Circadian Rhythm and its Health Implications”

2023-05-29 12:00:00

20 centimeters by 10 and 1.5 kilograms on average…. The liver is the largest organ in the body and its role is essential: it stores glucose, vitamins and minerals from digestion, it manufactures proteins which contribute to blood coagulation, it eliminates harmful elements from the blood, it regulates the amount of certain substances such as cholesterol.

The liver regulates the biological clock

Researchers have just discovered a new function in it: the regulation of the circadian rhythm, that is to say a person’s internal biological clock, which is set on the daily 24-hour day / night rhythm. This is very important because it controls many physiological activities of the body, such as sleep, mental health, food, hormonal secretions, digestion, blood pressure, etc.

In their study, published in the journal Science Advances, scientists have shown that it is possible to shift the biological clock of mice – animals that live more at night – by introducing human liver cells into their livers. Thus, the modified ones had an average lag of two hours and therefore began to feed 120 minutes before it got dark.

For the researchers, this shift would be the result of a takeover of the mouse’s central clock by the human liver cells present in this chimeric animal model, can we read in the communiqué. They would thus be able to affect the peripheral clocks of the various organs.

The disturbed circadian rhythm in the event of illness

These results suggest that a change in liver rhythms, for example during liver pathologies such as cirrhosis, could affect the synchronizing action of the central clock, explains the press release. This could in turn affect the entire circadian physiology, including the sleep/wake cycle, and contribute in particular to the appearance of metabolic pathologies. This finding also suggests that restoring disrupted liver cycles could have benefits throughout the body.

Further research should be conducted to determine other mechanisms such as hormonal or nervous in the dysregulation of the internal clock.

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