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NPJ Aging Mech Dis. 2017 Jun 16;3:9. doi: 10.1038/s41514-017-0010-2. eCollection 2017.

Global rise of potential health hazards caused by blue light-induced circadian disruption in modern aging societies.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Keio University School of Medicine, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo Japan.
PRESTO, JST, Tokyo, Japan.
Univ Lyon, Universiteé Lyon 1, Inserm, Stem Cell and Brain Research Institute U1208, Bron, France.
Departments of Ophthalmology, Pathology, and Biological Structure, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, USA.
Moran Eye Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA.
Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC), Barcelona, Spain.
Regulatory Biology Laboratory, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, USA.
Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, USA.
Consulting Medical Physicist, Fallston, USA.
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of California, Davis, USA.
Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules, Nagoya University and PRESTO, JST, Nagoya, Japan.
Member of the House of Councilors, Japan. Keio University School of Medicine and School of Law, Tokyo, Japan.


Mammals receive light information through the eyes, which perform two major functions: image forming vision to see objects and non-image forming adaptation of physiology and behavior to light. Cone and rod photoreceptors form images and send the information via retinal ganglion cells to the brain for image reconstruction. In contrast, nonimage-forming photoresponses vary widely from adjustment of pupil diameter to adaptation of the circadian clock. nonimage-forming responses are mediated by retinal ganglion cells expressing the photopigment melanopsin. Melanopsin-expressing cells constitute 1-2% of retinal ganglion cells in the adult mammalian retina, are intrinsically photosensitive, and integrate photic information from rods and cones to control nonimage-forming adaptation. Action spectra of ipRGCs and of melanopsin photopigment peak around 480‚ÄČnm blue light. Understanding melanopsin function lets us recognize considerable physiological effects of blue light, which is increasingly important in our modern society that uses light-emitting diode. Misalignment of circadian rhythmicity is observed in numerous conditions, including aging, and is thought to be involved in the development of age-related disorders, such as depression, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and cancer. The appropriate regulation of circadian rhythmicity by proper lighting is therefore essential. This perspective introduces the potential risks of excessive blue light for human health through circadian rhythm disruption and sleep deprivation. Knowing the positive and negative aspects, this study claims the importance of being exposed to light at optimal times and intensities during the day, based on the concept of the circadian clock, ultimately to improve quality of life to have a healthy and longer life.

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