Biologists at The Univ. of Manchester have discovered for the first time why having a great night’s sleep could set us up for the occurrences of the day ahead. The study illustrates how the body clock mechanism will boost our ability to maintain our bodies during the hours we are most active.
It is known that the body clock is not as precise as we age. The new discovery thought to help researchers one day unlock some of the mysteries behind aging. The recent discovery sheds fascinating light on the bodies extracellular matrix. This matrix provides biochemical and structural support to cells in the form of connective tissue such as skin, bone, cartilage and tendon.
Over one half of our body weight is matrix and collagen is half of this. It has been long understood that it is fully formed by when a person reaches the age of 17. Now researchers have found there are two types of fibrils which are rope like structures of collagen that are woven by cells to form tissues.
Thick fibrils measure about 200 nanometers in diameter. This is a million times smaller than a pinhead. They are permanent and remain with us during our lives, not changing from the age of 17.
However, thinner fibrils measuring 50 nanometers are sacrificial. They break when we subject our body to the rigors of the day, They do however replenish when we rest at night.
Mice were used for the study. Collagen was looked at by mass spectrometry and the mouse fibrils were seen through the use of state of the art volumetric electron microscopy every 4 hours over 2 days. When the body clock genes where knocked out in the mice, the thick and thin fibrils were amalgamated randomly.
Since collagen provides the body with structure and is also our most abundant protein, it is intuitive to think our matrix is worn down by wear and tear. However it isn’t and the team knows why. Our body clock makes an element which is sacrificial and can be replenished. This protects the permanent parts of the matrix.
Having this new information and discovery could have implications for understanding our biology at the most fundamental level It could give some deeper insight into how wounds heal and also how we age.
To view the original scientific study click below