Duration invariance and intensity dependence of the human circadian system phase shifting response to brief light flashes

Article


Joyce, Daniel S., Spitschan, Manuel and Zeitzer, Jamie M.. 2022. "Duration invariance and intensity dependence of the human circadian system phase shifting response to brief light flashes." Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 289 (1970), pp. 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2021.1943
Article Title

Duration invariance and intensity dependence of the human circadian system phase shifting response to brief light flashes

ERA Journal ID2111
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsJoyce, Daniel S., Spitschan, Manuel and Zeitzer, Jamie M.
Journal TitleProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Journal Citation289 (1970), pp. 1-10
Number of Pages10
Year09 Mar 2022
PublisherRoyal Society Publishing
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN0962-8452
1471-2954
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2021.1943
Web Address (URL)https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2021.1943
Abstract

The melanopsin-containing intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) are characterized by a delayed off-time following the cessation of light stimulation. Here, we exploited this unusual physiologic property to characterize the exquisite sensitivity of the human circadian system to flashed light. In a 34 h in-laboratory between-subjects design, we examined phase shifting in response to variable-intensity (3-9500 photopic lux) flashes at fixed duration (2 ms; n = 28 participants) and variable-duration (10 s- 10 s) flashes at fixed intensity (2000 photopic lux; n = 31 participants). Acute melatonin suppression, objective alertness and subjective sleepiness during the flash sequence were also assessed. We find a dose-response relationship between flash intensity and circadian phase shift, with an indication of a possible threshold-like behaviour. We find a slight parametric relationship between flash duration and circadian phase shift. Consistent with prior studies, we observe no dose-response relationship to either flash intensity or duration and the acute impact of light on melatonin suppression, objective alertness or subjective sleepiness. Our findings are consistent with circadian responses to a sequence of flashes being mediated by rod or cone photoreceptors via ipRGC integration.

Keywordsalertness; circadian; light; melatonin; sleep; flash
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020520406. Sensory processes, perception and performance
520206. Psychophysiology
Byline AffiliationsStanford University, United States
VA Palo Alto Health Care System, United States
Technical University of Munich, Germany
Max Planck Society, Germany
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