Insomnia Cure Linked to Discovery of Eye Cells as ‘Brand New Target’: Study

by Thilaka Ravi on August 19, 2008 at 3:38 PM
 Insomnia Cure Linked to Discovery of Eye Cells as ‘Brand New Target’: Study

A team of researchers at Oxford University has found hitherto unrecognized cells in the eye that could be a brand new target for the development of highly selective drugs to regulate sleep and wakefulness.

Most of us feel sleepy in a dimly lit place and alert in a bright place. The biological mechanism behind this was unexplained till now. The answer seems to be that specialized cells in the retina detect light and send brightness information to those regions of the brain that regulate sleep and levels of arousal.


The biological mechanism was discovered when the research team worked on mice in which the cells had been genetically turned-off. Mice normally sleep when it is daylight and wake up in the dark. The researchers observed that those mice in which the light-sensitive cells were turned off stayed wide-awake even when the lights were on.

According to their study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, the team has been able to track the sleep pathway to the brain, showing that the retinal ganglion cells directly activated two sleep-inducing centers there.

Professor Russell Foster, the lead researcher said, "By targeting the specific mechanism controlling the action of retinal ganglion cells, it may be possible in the future to develop sophisticated treatments to regulate the sleep-wake cycles."

A multibillion-dollar sleeping pill market thrives on developing and selling a lot many drugs to regulate the sleep-wake cycles. But current medicines are not very efficient and sophisticated and the drugs have side effects.

The researchers opine the study will pave the way to a new class of sleeping pills and stimulants that would have the same effect as bright light, or darkness, depending on how the drug is designed.

The research is still at an early stage and scientists have yet to establish if the same processes affecting mice that are nocturnal by nature, will work in humans.

Source: Medindia
Font : A-A+



Recommended Readings

Latest Research News

Life Expectancy Gap for Autistic Individuals Revealed
Diagnosed autistic individuals showed increased premature mortality in the UK, highlighting urgent needs to address associated inequalities.
Exploring How Hearing Impairment Shapes Dementia Risk
Study reveals a correlation between hearing impairment and distinct brain region variances, contributing to dementia.
Coffee and its Role in Neurodegenerative Disorders
Financial impact of caring for individuals with neurodegenerative disorders reaches hundreds of billions annually in the United States.
Healthcare Industry Struggles With Tech Skills Shortage
Experts emphasize that addressing the skills gap demands immediate attention and innovative solutions, including education, re-training, and significant time investment.
Nano-Probes Uncover Cellular Reactions to Pressure
New study unveiled the cells' ability to adapt in responses and potential implications for conditions such as diabetes and cancer.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close

Insomnia Cure Linked to Discovery of Eye Cells as ‘Brand New Target’: Study Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests