Department of Anatomy

Biological Clocks Research Group

The Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2017 has been awarded to American researchers for the discovery of molecular clock mechanisms driving circadian (near 24 hour) biological rhythms. This research area holds a history in our Department dating back in the 1960s when Béla Halász reported the abolishment of daily rhythms in hormonal secretion as consequences of lesions in the anterior hypothalamus in laboratory animals. His work was used as a reference  by Irving Zucker in 1972 who identified the suprachiasmatic nucleus as the clock of the brain (citations above 5600, 400 new citations per year since 2012). In the 1970's, Béla Mess was one of the founders of the European Biological Rhythms Society which today represents a network of research groups at top European universities (Cambridge, Oxford, Geneve, Basel, Charité Berlin, MLU Munchen, Padua, Strasbourg, Groningen, Leiden, etc.). This line of research in our Department has centred around pineal biology and physiology with lead scientists (Valér Csernus, Zoltán Rékási) gaining laboratory experience at Tulane University, New Orleans, USA with Nobel Laureate endocrinologist Andrew V. Schally. Since 2011 our focus has shifted towards clinically relevant collaborations established by Andras D. Nagy at the national and international level (Kyushu University Japan, Cambridge University UK). In present we are in cooperation with Europe's newest molecular biology research centre in London, The Francis Crick Institute (Ak Reddy) with common interests in how redox clocks drive cellular and body physiology (e.g. cell cycle, sleep/wake cycle,  cancer biology).

Our key contributions:

- Halász, B.: The endocrine effect of isolation of the hypothalamus
 from the rest of the brain. In: Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology (W.
 F. Ganong, L. Martini, Eds.), p. 307--342. Oxford University Press,
 New York, 1969.

 - Mess B: Endocrine and neurochemical aspects of pineal function. Int
 Rev Neurobiol. 1968. 11:171-98.

 - Rékási Z, Csernus V, Horváth J, Vigh S, Mess B.: Long-Term Dynamic
 in vitro System for Investigating Rat Pineal Melatonin Secretion. J
 Neuroendocrinol. 1991 Oct 1;3(5):563-8.

 - Csernus V, Ghosh M, Mess B: Development and control of the
 circadian pacemaker for melatonin release in the chicken pineal
 gland. Gen Comp Endocrinol. 1998 Apr;110(1):19-28.

 - Lengyel Z, Lovig C, Kommedal S, Keszthelyi R, Szekeres G, Battyáni
 Z, Csernus V, Nagy AD: Altered expression patterns of clock gene
 mRNAs and clock proteins in human skin tumors. Tumour Biol. 2013.

 - Lengyel Z, Battyáni Z, Szekeres G, Csernus V, Nagy AD: Circadian
 clocks and tumor biology: what is to learn from human skin biopsies?
 Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2013 Jul 1;188:67-74

 - Nagy AD, Iwamoto A, Kawai M, Goda R, Matsuo H, Otsuka T, Nagasawa
 M, Furuse M, Yasuo S: Melatonin adjusts the expression pattern of
 clock genes in the suprachiasmatic nucleus and induces
 antidepressant-like effect in a mouse model of seasonal affective
 disorder. Chronobiol Int. 2015 May;32(4):447-57.

 - Nagy AD, Reddy AB: Time dictates: emerging clinical analyses of the
 impact of circadian rhythms on diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of
 disease. Clin Med (Lond). 2015 Dec;15 Suppl 6:s50-3.

 - Edgar RS, Stangherlin A, Nagy AD, Nicoll MP, Efstathiou S, O'Neill
 JS, Reddy AB: Cell autonomous regulation of herpes and influenza
 virus infection by the circadian clock. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.
 2016 Sep 6;113(36):10085-90.

 - Nagy AD, Reddy AB: Redox Clocks: Time to Rethink Redox
 Interventions. Free Radical Biol Med. 2017. in press