(Opn4) requirement for normal light-induced circadian phase shifting.
Previous research has shown that relative to unaffected peers, people with SAD have a reduced melanopsin
cell response in winter (Psychiatry Res.
In the December 2001 issue of Nature Neuroscience, Josh Gooley, then a first-year Harvard graduate student, showed in rats that melanopsin
cells connect to the SCN.
This study clarifies the role of melanopsin
in setting and maintaining the circadian clock," said Bruce O'Hara, senior research scientist at Stanford and co-author of the study published in the Dec.
Now we learn about the importance of melanopsin
and our circadian rhythm.
is required for non-image-forming photic responses in blind mice.
The team of experts from the University of Manchester and Imperial College London found that activating melanopsin
in cells that don't normally use the gene makes them sensitive to light.
When stimulated, the cells trigger the release of an "alertness" hormone, melanopsin
The researchers suggest that body temperature and heart rate may be regulated by retinal cells that contain a light-sensitive protein called melanopsin
His research in the Laboratory of Regulatory Biology revealed that melanopsin
not only reports the intensity of incoming light to the circadian clock but also to regular visual centers in the brain.
After injecting dyes into the eye, they traced the path of the melanopsin
retinal cells through the optic nerve to the brain, where they found a group of neurons that become electrically active during migraine.
15 JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE, they report finding the human version of the protein and reveal that melanopsin
is made by cells in the eye's inner retina.