Study says prolonged absence of sleep could lead to liver cancer

Emobileclinic Researchers Corner



The Journal of Cancer Cell has published the findings of researchers who found that prolonged sleep disorder could lead to cancer of the liver. A study conducted on mice showed that persistent sleep deprivation causes liver disease and eventually leads to liver cancer

According to Loning Fu, “recent studies have shown that more than 80 percent of the population in the United States adopt a lifestyle that leads to chronic disruption in their sleep schedules,” and “this has also reached an epidemic level in other developed countries, which is coupled with the increase in obesity and liver cancer risk”.

In his own view, Prof David Moore notes that “Liver cancer is on the rise worldwide, and in human studies we have now seen that patients can progress from fatty liver disease to liver cancer without any middle steps such as cirrhosis”. He added further that they “knew we needed an animal model to examine this connection, and studies in the Fu Lab found that chronically jet-lagged mice developed liver cancer in a very similar way as that described for obese humans”.

The researchers have associated sleep disruption with greater risk of liver cancer. In modeling the effect of chronic sleep disruption, mice were exposed to disrupted light and dark cycles for nearly 2 years, which resulted in prolonged disruption to their normal sleep cycles. As a result, the mice developed a range of conditions, including skin disorders, neurodegeneration and cancer. These were not seen in control mice, which had regular light and dark cycles. All mice received a normal diet.
Normal liver function was severely disrupted in the jet-lagged mice while development of NAFLD was followed by severe inflammation and fibrosis prior to development of HCC.
When the researchers investigated global gene expression in the livers of jet-lagged mice, they discovered a pattern similar to that seen in humans with HCC.

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This indicates the direct effect that chronic jet lag has on gene expression, including genes involved in regulation of circadian rhythm (Bmal1, Clock, Per1, Per2 and Nr1d1), despite a lack of mutations in classic cancer genes. The team said “our results are consistent with what we already knew about these receptors, but they definitely show that chronic circadian disruption alone leads to malfunction of these receptors.” Fu explains. “And thus, maintaining internal physiological homeostasis is really important for liver tumor suppression.”
In conclusion, the team notes that HCC caused by disruption of normal liver function could be addressed by drugs which target these receptors.






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