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Daylight hours impact opioid receptor levels in brown fat

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Researchers from the Turku PET Centre, Finland, have observed that the length of daylight hours impacts opioid receptor levels in brown fat. When daylight hours shorten, the receptor activity levels elevate. A similar phenomenon also takes place in the brain. Both phenomena help people and animals in the adaptation to seasonal changes.
October 7, 2022

Researchers from the Turku PET Centre, Finland, have observed that the length of daylight hours impacts opioid receptor levels in brown fat. When daylight hours shorten, the receptor activity levels elevate. A similar phenomenon also takes place in the brain. Both phenomena help people and animals in the adaptation to seasonal changes.

When the season turns darker and colder, animals’ brown fat starts to grow. The tissue produces heat efficiently and rapidly, and regulates appetite. Brown fat is also present in people.
In a new study conducted at the Turku PET Centre, Finland, researchers observed that shorter daylight hours impact the opioid receptor signaling in the brown fat of animals. When the amount of light diminishes, the opioid receptor levels increase. The observation was done in rats living in an artificial environment imitating seasonal daylight changes.
“In the study, we observed that the number of mu-opioid receptors in brown fat was dependent on the length of daylight the rat was exposed to.

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