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Melanopsin gene variations interact with season to predict sleep onset and chronotype

Roecklein, KA and Wong, PM and Franzen, PL and Hasler, BP and Wood-Vasey, WM and Nimgaonkar, VL and Miller, MA and Kepreos, KM and Ferrell, RE and Manuck, SB (2012) Melanopsin gene variations interact with season to predict sleep onset and chronotype. Chronobiology International, 29 (8). 1036 - 1047. ISSN 0742-0528

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The human melanopsin gene has been reported to mediate risk for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is hypothesized to be caused by decreased photic input during winter when light levels fall below threshold, resulting in differences in circadian phase andor sleep. However, it is unclear if melanopsin increases risk of SAD by causing differences in sleep or circadian phase, or if those differences are symptoms of the mood disorder. To determine if melanopsin sequence variations are associated with differences in sleep-wake behavior among those not suffering from a mood disorder, the authors tested associations between melanopsin gene polymorphisms and self-reported sleep timing (sleep onset and wake time) in a community sample (N234) of non-Hispanic Caucasian participants (age 3054 yrs) with no history of psychological, neurological, or sleep disorders. The authors also tested the effect of melanopsin variations on differences in preferred sleep and activity timing (i.e., chronotype), which may reflect differences in circadian phase, sleep homeostasis, or both. Daylength on the day of assessment was measured and included in analyses. DNA samples were genotyped for melanopsin gene polymorphisms using fluorescence polarization. P10L genotype interacted with daylength to predict self-reported sleep onset (interaction p<.05). Specifically, sleep onset among those with the TT genotype was later in the day when individuals were assessed on longer days and earlier in the day on shorter days, whereas individuals in the other genotype groups (i.e., CC and CT) did not show this interaction effect. P10L genotype also interacted in an analogous way with daylength to predict self-reported morningness (interaction p<.05). These results suggest that the P10L TT genotype interacts with daylength to predispose individuals to vary in sleep onset and chronotype as a function of daylength, whereas other genotypes at P10L do not seem to have effects that vary by daylength. A better understanding of how melanopsin confers heightened responsivity to daylength may improve our understanding of a broad range of behavioral responses to light (i.e., circadian, sleep, mood) as well as the etiology of disorders with seasonal patterns of recurrence or exacerbation. © Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Roecklein, KAkroeck@pitt.eduKROECK
Wong, PM
Franzen, PL
Hasler, BPbph6@pitt.eduBPH6
Wood-Vasey, WM
Nimgaonkar, VL
Miller, MA
Kepreos, KM
Ferrell, RErferrell@pitt.eduRFERRELL
Manuck, SB
Date: 1 October 2012
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Chronobiology International
Volume: 29
Number: 8
Page Range: 1036 - 1047
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.3109/07420528.2012.706766
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0742-0528
Date Deposited: 03 May 2013 15:48
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2019 16:55


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