A model of phototransduction by the human circadian system

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The absolute and spectral sensitivities to light by the human circadian system, measured through melatonin suppression or phase shifting response, are beginning to emerge after a quarter century of active research. The present paper outlines a hypothesized model of human circadian phototransduction that is consistent with the known neuroanatomy and physiology of the human visual and circadian systems. Spectral opponency is fundamental to the model, providing a parsimonious explanation of some recently published data. The proposed model offers a framework for hypothesis testing and subsequent discussion of the practical aspects of architectural lighting with respect to light and health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-228
Number of pages16
JournalBrain Research Reviews
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Circadian rhythm
  • Melanopsin
  • Melatonin suppression
  • Photoreceptor
  • Retina
  • Retinal ganglion cell
  • Spectral opponency
  • Spectral sensitivity


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