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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: The Bladder's Biological Clock
1 May 2012 12:46 pm
You'll have to pee at least once during an 8-hour workday. So how can most of us sleep through the night without visiting the porcelain throne? New research fingers the circadian clock, a molecular timer responsible for keeping us on daily sleep-wake cycles. Scientists compared urination patterns, both volume and frequency, in normal mice and in mice genetically engineered without two circadian genes, Cryptochrome-1 and Cryptochrome-2, resulting in dysfunctional circadian rhythms. They found that a circadian gene called Rev-erbα controlled the production of Cx43, a protein that determines how much urine bladders hold. Normal mice urinated more frequently when awake, compared with when they slept, while genetically altered mice urinated without regard to daily cycles, scientists report online today in Nature Communications. (Normal and engineered mice produced the same volume of urine.) The researchers also found that increases in Rev-erbα caused increases in Cx43 concentrations when normal mice were awake. Since more Cx43 means less room in the bladder, the team speculates that although normal mice didn't stop producing urine when asleep, their bladders were able to hold more due to decreased Cx43 concentrations. This allowed the mice to urinate less frequently. The authors note that scientists investigating why children wet the bed or why older people get up to urinate during the night should consider circadian clock effects.
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