Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

BPoD is 5

In 2017 we celebrate five years of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science

Drink Driver
01 January 2017

Drink Driver

Our built-in body clock regulates our circadian rhythms – which include when we go to sleep and when we wake up – by keeping hormone levels and body temperature appropriate to the time of day. Recently researchers saw that in mice the body clock also stimulates them to ingest water at least two hours before sleeping. However, this thirst wasn’t linked to mice noticing actual dehydration, but rather to the neurons in the brain causing preemptive drinking, helping to keep the animals hydrated overnight. Mice that were restricted from having this near-bedtime drink were significantly dehydrated towards the end of the sleep cycle. The team found that vasopressin, a molecule released by the suprachiasmatic nucleus – the tiny brain region where body clock cells are located – was turning on the brain’s thirst neurons (highlighted in blue). It’s the first demonstration of how the body clock regulates a physiological function.

Written by Katie Panteli

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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