Protecting the melatonin rhythm through circadian healthy light exposure

Maria Angeles Bonmati-Carrion, Raquel Arguelles-Prieto, Maria Jose Martinez-Madrid, Russel Reiter, Ruediger Hardeland, Maria Angeles Rol, Juan Antonio Madrid

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

81 Scopus citations

Abstract

Currently, in developed countries, nights are excessively illuminated (light at night), whereas daytime is mainly spent indoors, and thus people are exposed to much lower light intensities than under natural conditions. In spite of the positive impact of artificial light, we pay a price for the easy access to light during the night: disorganization of our circadian system or chronodisruption (CD), including perturbations in melatonin rhythm. Epidemiological studies show that CD is associated with an increased incidence of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cognitive and affective impairment, premature aging and some types of cancer. Knowledge of retinal photoreceptors and the discovery of melanopsin in some ganglion cells demonstrate that light intensity, timing and spectrum must be considered to keep the biological clock properly entrained. Importantly, not all wavelengths of light are equally chronodisrupting. Blue light, which is particularly beneficial during the daytime, seems to be more disruptive at night, and induces the strongest melatonin inhibition. Nocturnal blue light exposure is currently increasing, due to the proliferation of energy-efficient lighting (LEDs) and electronic devices. Thus, the development of lighting systems that preserve the melatonin rhythm could reduce the health risks induced by chronodisruption. This review addresses the state of the art regarding the crosstalk between light and the circadian system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23448-23500
Number of pages53
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Volume15
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 17 2014

Keywords

  • Chronodisruption
  • Circadian
  • Light at night (LAN)
  • Melanopsin
  • Melatonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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  • Cite this

    Bonmati-Carrion, M. A., Arguelles-Prieto, R., Martinez-Madrid, M. J., Reiter, R., Hardeland, R., Rol, M. A., & Madrid, J. A. (2014). Protecting the melatonin rhythm through circadian healthy light exposure. International journal of molecular sciences, 15(12), 23448-23500. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms151223448