UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Tobias Ackle, MD and professor of anesthesiology at the University of Colorado (USA) has long suspected that sunlight is directly related to cardiovascular health.
This was facilitated by a number of studies showing that in the darker winter months, the number of heart attacks increases throughout the country, including such sunny corners as Arizona, Hawaii and California.
The latter fact led Dr. Ackle to the idea that it was not so much the duration of the lighting, but its intensity.
The scientist decided to test his hypothesis in mice. Experiments have shown that keeping rodents in strong light for a week significantly increased protection against cardiovascular disease. Additional experiments demonstrated that a week of exposure to bright light provided a significant reduction in damage to heart tissue after an induced heart attack.
But what is the mechanism of these phenomena? Further studies have found that light affects the PER2 gene, which controls circadian rhythms.
Activation of the gene by bright light provided protection of the cardiovascular tissues from ischemia by strengthening blood vessels.
At the same time, light increased levels of adenosine, a substance that plays a role in the regulation of heart rhythm.
Interestingly, blind mice did not get any benefits from lighting. This suggests that the key role here is played by the possibility of visual perception.
Having completed experiments with mice, scientists switched to experiments on humans. Healthy volunteers were exposed to half an hour of intense light (10,000 lux). Blood samples were taken from all subjects before and after each session.
Scientists have found that light therapy in humans, as well as in mice, activated PER2-dependent metabolism. In addition, triglycerides decreased in the participants ’blood , while insulin sensitivity and metabolism, on the contrary, increased.
Obviously, intensive light therapy claims to be a promising strategy for treating or preventing ischemia.
It is possible, in particular, to conduct light sessions on the eve of serious operations in order to prevent heart damage. Theoretically, cardioprotective drugs acting on the basis of the detected mechanisms can also be developed.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.
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