Discovery to help minimise drugs’ side-effects

December 21st, 2011 - 2:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 21 (IANS) A missing link between the body’s bio-clock and sugar metabolism may help avoid the serious side-effects of drugs used in treating asthma, allergies and arthritis, reveals a study.

Scientists discovered that proteins controlling the body’s bio-rhythms, known as cryptochromes, also interact with metabolic switches that are targeted by certain anti-inflammatory drugs.

The finding suggests that side-effects of current drugs might be avoided by considering patients’ bio rhythms when giving drugs, or by developing new drugs that target cryptochromes, the journal Nature reported.

“We knew that our sleep and wake cycle are tied to when our bodies process nutrients, but how this happened at the genetic and molecular level was a complete mystery,” said Ronald M. Evans, professor in Salk’s Gene Expression Lab, who led the research team.

“Now we’ve found the link between these two important systems, which could serve as a model for how other cellular processes are linked and could hold promise for better therapies,” said Evans, according to a university statement.

“Disrupting the normal day-night cycle of activity may prevent a person’s biological clock from synchronizing correctly with their daily patterns of nutrient metabolism, as a result, the body might not store and process sugar normally, leading to metabolic disease,” Evans said.

More broadly, the study may help explain the connection between sleep and nutrient metabolism in our bodies, including why people with jobs that require night work or erratic hours are at higher risk for obesity and diabetes, he added.

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