A recent study conducted by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine has provided the first experimental evidence that chronic jet lag, or chronic circadian dysfunction, can lead to liver cancer. The study focused on a humanized mouse model developed by Dr. Karl Dimiter Bissig at Duke University, which allows researchers to study the effects of disrupting the circadian rhythm on the development of cancer in human cells.
When this rhythm is disrupted, previous studies have shown that diseases are more likely to develop. In this study, humanized mice were exposed to two different conditions. One group maintained a normal day-and-night cycle, while the other group experienced changes in the light and dark periods to simulate the effects of chronic jet lag. The mice in the jet-lagged group had a shorter lifespan, developed cirrhosis and jaundice, and even developed cancer in both mouse and human liver cells. Additionally, chronic jet lag induced metastasis from humanized livers.
Analyses of the blood and liver samples revealed similarities between the humanized mice and patients with liver cancer, including glucose intolerance, abnormal fat accumulation in the liver, inflammation, and fibrosis. This confirms that the humanized mouse model effectively represents the human condition and can be used for further studies.
One of the significant findings of the study is that when mice with spontaneously developed tumors were returned to a normal circadian rhythm, tumor development slowed down and metastasis was prevented. The gene expression pattern in the mice also returned to its original state once they reentered the normal circadian rhythm.
These findings highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm and the potential risks associated with chronic jet lag. While people often associate cancer with chemical exposure or radiation, the study demonstrates that disruptions in the internal clock can also increase the risk of developing liver cancer. It is crucial to prioritize sleep and maintain a consistent sleep-wake schedule to protect overall health and reduce the risk of diseases such as cancer.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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