Altered metabolic and hormonal responses in male rats exposed to acute bright light-at-night associated with global DNA hypo-methylation

Mohamad Yonis, Abraham Haim, A. Elsalam Zubidat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The association between light pollution and disruption of daily rhythms, metabolic and hormonal disorders, as well as cancer progression is well-recognized. These adverse effects could be due to nocturnal melatonin suppression. The signaling pathway by which light pollution affects metabolism and endocrine responses is unclear. We studied the effects of artificial light at night (ALAN 1 ) on body mass, food and water intake, daily rhythms of body temperature, serum glucose and insulin in male rats. Daily rhythms of urine production and urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (6-SMT 2 ), as well as global DNA methylation in pancreas and liver tissues were also assessed. Mass gain was higher in ALAN rats compared with controls. Food intake, water consumption, glucose, insulin, and 6-SMT levels markedly lessened in response to ALAN. Conversely, urine production and body temperature were elevated in ALAN rats compared with controls. Significant 24-h rhythms were detected for all variables that were altered in mesor, amplitude, and acrophase occurrences under ALAN conditions. DNA hypo-methylation was detected in ALAN pancreatic tissue compared with controls, but not in hepatic tissue. Overall, ALAN affects metabolic and hormonal physiology in different levels in which flexible crosstalk between melatonin and both epigenetics and metabolic levels expressed as body temperature rhythm, is suggested to mediate the environmental exposure at the molecular level and subsequently physiology is altered. The flexibility of epigenetic modifications provides a potential therapeutic target for rectifying ALAN adverse effects by epigenetic markers such as melatonin and behavioral lifestyle interventions for confining ALAN exposures as much as possible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-118
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology
StatePublished - May 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.


  • 6-sulfatoxymelatonin
  • Anticipatory thirst
  • Cosinor analysis
  • Energy efficiency
  • Energy intake
  • Pancreatic β-cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Altered metabolic and hormonal responses in male rats exposed to acute bright light-at-night associated with global DNA hypo-methylation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this