Magazine article Science News

Circadian Fix: Viagra May Lessen Effects of Jet Lag

Magazine article Science News

Circadian Fix: Viagra May Lessen Effects of Jet Lag

Article excerpt

The leading drug prescribed for male impotence can counteract the lethargy caused by a disruption in the sleep cycle, a study in rodents suggests. Sildenafil, commonly known as Viagra, helps hamsters rebound from a 6-hour clock change such as a long eastbound plane flight produces.

To mimic conditions that can lead to jet lag, scientists habituated hamsters to a daily routine of 14 hours of light and 10 hours of darkness. The researchers then abruptly switched on the lights 6 hours early and continued the same light-to-dark routine from that point onward, simulating the effects of a flight from Chicago to London.

Just before changing the hamsters' routine, the researchers injected each animal with either sildenafil or saline solution. Then, they observed how long it took the hamsters to restart their daily habit of running on a wheel.

Hamsters receiving a large single dose of sildenafil resynchronized their body clocks and resumed their usual wheel routines within 6 days. Hamsters getting a lower dose took 8 days, whereas those receiving the inert injection took 12 days, the scientists report in an upcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Circadian rhythm in mammals is controlled mainly by neurons in the hypothalamus, says study coauthor Patricia V. Agostino, a neuroscientist at the National University of Quilmes in Bernal, Argentina. When the vision system detects light, it sends stimuli to the hypothalamus and sets off a series of events that generate wakefulness. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.