Biologists at New York University have uncovered one way that biological clocks control neuronal activity --
a discovery that sheds new light on sleep-wake cycles and offers potential new directions for research into therapies to address sleep disorders and jetlag.
"The findings answer a significant question -- how biological clocks drive the activity of clock neurons, which, in turn, regulate behavioral rhythms," explained Justin Blau, an associate professor in NYU's Department of Biology and the study's senior author. Their findings appear in the Journal of Biological Rhythms.
Scientists have known that our biological clocks control neuronal activity. But not previously understood is how this process occurs -- that is, how does information from biological clocks drive rhythms in the electrical activity of pacemaker neurons that, in turn, drives daily rhythms?