Circadian Rhythm

Shift Work, Jet Lag & Associated Circadian Disruption Disorders

In humans, jobs that require shift work (e.g. hospital shifts, manufacturing) or overseas travel (e.g. pilots, business trips) demand that people rapidly change their sleep/wake periods away from their normal day/night time. This shift can often be difficult and lead to people being exhausted during work hours.  Currently, few pharmaceutical therapies exist to aid in expediting entrainment to a new circadian rhythm.  Therefore, the ability to model shift-work, jet lag, and related circadian disruption disorders is of value. At Biomodels, we have developed animal models that can mimic these phenotypes for the exploration of novel therapies for treatment.  

Mice are housed individually in cages equipped with running wheels and habituate until a circadian rhythm of activity is established.  Following habituation to the 12:12 hr light/dark cycle, the light cycle can be shifted up to 12 hrs.  The result would be an altering of the active or sleep periods - similar to what occurs when a person travels overseas or switches from a day shift to a night shift.  The new light/ dark cycle is maintained for a minimum of 7 days.  Multiple phase shifts can be applied over the course of a study to explore more complex scientific questions and to appropriately model shift work in which employees’ cycle through morning, afternoon, and night shifts.  When multiple shifts are required, the light/dark cycle will remain constant for at least 7 days prior to shifting and mice will experience no more than 3 shifts.

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