Learn more about what Beckman Scholar Amanda Liberman has been working on at Colgate University:
Generalized anxiety and major depression have become increasingly common in the United States, affecting 18.6 percent of the adult population. Mood disorders can be debilitating, and are often correlated with poor general health, life dissatisfaction, and the need for disability benefits due to inability to work. Recent evidence suggests that some mood disorders have a circadian component, and disruptions in circadian rhythms may even trigger the development of these disorders. However, the molecular mechanisms of this interaction are not well understood. Polymorphisms in a circadian clock-related gene, PER3, are associated with behavioral phenotypes (extreme diurnal preference in arousal and activity) and sleep/mood disorders, including seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Here we show that two PER3 mutations, a variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) allele and a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), are associated with diurnal preference and higher Trait-Anxiety scores, supporting a role for PER3 in mood modulation. In addition, we explore a potential mechanism for how PER3 influences mood by utilizing a comprehensive circadian clock model that accurately predicts the changes in circadian period evident in knock-out phenotypes and individuals with PER3-related clock disorders.
CONTINUE READING: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-07957-4