Processes underlying chronodisruption and their proposed association with illness

Russel J. Reiter, Xiaoyan Liu, Lucien C. Manchester, Sergio A. Rosales-Corral, Dun Xian Tan, Juan Antonio Madrid Pérez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


Regularly alternating periods of light and darkness, such as normally occur with the rising and the setting of the sun, are essential for the maintenance of undisturbed circadian rhythms in all organisms including humans. The light-dark environment, as detected by specialized photoreceptors in the retinas, impacts the endogenous circadian clock in the anterior hypothalamus, the suprachiasmatic nuclei. These nuclei, via both neural and humoral signals, communicate with cells throughout the organism to establish regular circadian rhythms. The introduction of artificial sources of light roughly 150 years ago has significantly undermined the naturally occurring light-dark environment and, likewise, has disturbed circadian rhythms since light is now available at unusual times, i.e., at night. Light at night is known to cause circadian disruption and melatonin suppression. Of many potentially pathophysiological consequences of these artificial light-mediated changes, female breast cancer has become of major interest. Additionally, however, there is currently data suggesting that not only breast cancer, but cancer in general, cardiovascular diseases, insomnia, metabolic syndrome, and affective and cognitive disorders may be aggravated by the increased exposure to light at night, which is inevitable in well-developed societies that have undergone extensive electrification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationChronobiology and Obesity
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781461450825
ISBN (Print)1461450810, 9781461450818
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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