IMAGE: Altered expression of luminal and basal markers in Per2-/- mammary glands. Immunflorescent staining showing localization of myoepthelial (K14 -green) and luminal (E-cadherin-red) markers in virgin Per2-/- mammary glands. view more
Credit: Dr. Cole McQueen, Texas A&M University
For years, doctors have associated the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations with an increased risk of breast cancer.
But researchers at Texas A&M University have now identified another gene that may have an impact on breast cancer–associated with the body’s circadian rhythm.
Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) professor Weston Porter and his team have found that Period 2 (Per2), a regulatory mechanism within each cell’s peripheral clock, plays a crucial function in mammalian mammary gland development and that when suppressed, Per2 leads to severely disrupted gland development in mice.
The findings, published in the scientific journal Development, add to a growing list that ties disruptions to our circadian rhythm–that is, the “central clock” mechanism in our brains–to a higher risk of cancer progression, obesity, some neuromuscular diseases, and other impairments, including jetlag.
Circadian rhythm is controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the brain’s anterior hypothalamus. In addition to coordinating our sleep patterns, the SCN coordinates
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