In a new study, researchers found for the first time why having a good night’s sleep really could prepare us for the rigors of the day ahead.
The study shows how the body clock mechanism boosts our ability to maintain our bodies when we are most active.
The discovery throws fascinating light on the body’s extracellular matrix -which provides structural and biochemical support to cells in the form of connective tissue such as bone, skin, tendon, and cartilage.
And because we know the body clock is less precise as we age, the discovery, may one day help unlock some of the mysteries of aging.
The research was conducted by biologists from The University of Manchester.
Over half our body weight is a matrix, and half of this is collagen—and scientists have long understood it is fully formed by the time we reach the age of 17.
But now the researchers have discovered there are two types of fibrils—the rope-like structures of collagen that are woven by the cells to form tissues.
Thicker fibrils measuring about 200 nanometers in diameter—a million million times smaller than a pinhead—are permanent and stay with us throughout our lives, unchanged from the age of 17.
But thinner fibrils measuring 50 nanometers, they find, are sacrificial, breaking as we subject the body to the rigors of the day but replenishing when we rest at night.
The collagen was observed by mass spectrometry and the mouse fibrils were observed using state of the art volumetric electron microscopy—funded by the Wellcome Trust—every four hours over two days.
When the body clock genes were knocked out in mice, the thin and thick fibrils were amalgamated randomly.
The team days collagen provides the body with structure and is our most abundant protein, ensuring the integrity, elasticity, and strength of the body’s connective tissue.
Knowing this could have implications on understanding our biology at its most fundamental level. It might, for example, give us some deeper insight into how wounds heal, or how we age.
The lead author of the study is Professor Karl Kadler.
The study is published in Nature Cell Biology.
Copyright © 2019 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.