Quantifying light-dependent circadian disruption in humans and animal models

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18 Scopus citations


Although circadian disruption is an accepted term, little has been done to develop methods to quantify the degree of disruption or entrainment individual organisms actually exhibit in the field. A variety of behavioral, physiological and hormonal responses vary in amplitude over a 24-h period and the degree to which these circadian rhythms are synchronized to the daily light-dark cycle can be quantified with a technique known as phasor analysis. Several studies have been carried out using phasor analysis in an attempt to measure circadian disruption exhibited by animals and by humans. To perform these studies, species-specific light measurement and light delivery technologies had to be developed based upon a fundamental understanding of circadian phototransduction mechanisms in the different species. When both nocturnal rodents and diurnal humans, experienced different species-specific light-dark shift schedules, they showed, based upon phasor analysis of the light-dark and activity-rest patterns, similar levels of light-dependent circadian disruption. Indeed, both rodents and humans show monotonically increasing and quantitatively similar levels of light-dependent circadian disruption with increasing shift-nights per week. Thus, phasor analysis provides a method for quantifying circadian disruption in the field and in the laboratory as well as a bridge between ecological measurements of circadian entrainment in humans and parametric studies of circadian disruption in animal models, including nocturnal rodents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1239-1246
Number of pages8
JournalChronobiology International
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event21st International Symposium on Shiftwork and Working Time: The 24/7 Society - From Chronobiology to Practical Life - Bahia, Brazil
Duration: 4 Nov 20138 Nov 2013


  • Circadian disruption
  • Light
  • Phasor analysis
  • Phototransduction
  • Shift work


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