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Running head: Circadian Photoreception A look at circadian photoreception in blind people

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  1. Abstract:.
  2. How Do Blind People Know the Time of Day?
  3. A look at circadian photoreception in blind people.
  4. Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells
  5. Protein synthesis and degradation in the SCN
  6. Conclusion
  7. References

In humans, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) controls the body's circadian rhythms. Each day, sighted people have the opportunity to reset their internal clock based on the amount of ambient light entering their retinas. The retina contains a subset of retinal ganglion cells specialized in regulating the body's rhythms. These ganglion cells project to the SCN from both eyes via the retinohypothalamic pathway. But how do completely blind people synchronize with their environment? Non-photic cues may help blind people sense the passage of time, but they are not always enough to regulate the body's cycle of body temperature and hormones.

Keywords: Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs), retina, olivary pretectal nucleus (OPN)

[...] Doyle hypothesized that ?early rod loss may cause reorganization of the developing retina in such a way that circadian responsivity is increased.? Doyle also hypothesized that melanopsin may function as a bistable opsin capable of switching back and forth between its conformations. More tests to discover the mechanism by which melanopsin is recycled showed that responses to light in ipRGCs also persist in the absence of a photoisomerase, a retinal G-protein coupled receptor. protein receptor systems work more slowly than direct enzymatic systems, which would explain why circadian photopigments respond to gradual changes in light intensity more than drastic changes (Doyle, et. [...]


[...] Fells, P. & Blakemore, C. (2001). Blindness. In The Oxford Companion to the Body (1st ed., Oxford). Oxford University Press. Freberg, L.A. (2006). Discovering biological psychology. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. pp. 314-319. Hattar, S., Liao, H.W., Takao, M., Berson, D.M., & Yau, K.W. (2002). Melanopsin-containing retinal ganglion cells: architecture, projections, and intrinsic photosensitivity. Science, 295(5557), pp. 1065-70. Hendrickson, A. E., Wagoner, N., & Cowan, W. M. (1972). An autoradiographic and electron microscopic study of retino-hypothalamic connections. Cell and [...]

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