In humans, circadian rhythm disturbances are associated with psychiatric diseases such as bipolar disorder and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Biotechin reports.

A team of researchers led by Takeshi Takarada from Okayama University has now identified a link between circadian rhythm disturbance and brain dysfunction.  The scientists showed that a protein called Bmal1, known to play an important role in circadian rhythmicity, also regulates the stability of the blood-brain barrier (BBB).

The blood–brain barrier (BBB) is a semipermeable membrane, separating blood circulating in the brain from other fluid in the central nervous system.  It regulates the transit of water, certain gases and molecules like glucose and amino acids required for neural function.

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