We wake up feeling sore in the mornings as the body's natural painkiller has not kicked in yet, scientists say. They suggest that the reason our limbs can feel rigid and ache when we wake up is because the body's'biological clock' suppresses anti-inflammatory proteins during sleep.
The scientists at Manchester University found a type of protein called cryptochromeblocks biological pathways controlling inflammation during night-time sleep, delaying symptoms and then making it feel worse when we wake up and start moving around each morning. The new research could help find new drugs to treat diseases such as arthritis.
Dr Julie Gibbs, a researcher at the Centre for Endocrinology and Diabetes at the University of Manchester's Institute of Human Development, said, 'By understanding how the biological clock regulates inflammation, we can begin to develop new treatments, which might exploit this knowledge. Furthermore, by adapting the time of day at which current drug therapies are administered, we may be able to make them more effective.'
Dr Gibbs and her team harvested cells from joints of healthy mice and humans and altered those cells' natural 24-hour rhythms by knocking out the cryptochrome protein gene. This led to an increased inflammatory response suggesting its product, the cryptochrome protein has significant anti-inflammatory effects.
The scientists also exposed arthritic mice to constant light and found that they had no daily variation in inflammation as normally seen.Stephen Simpson, director of research and programmes, Arthritis Research UK says that this research is very interesting and represents significant progress in our understanding of the link between our internal 'body clock' and pain. He says,'Many people with arthritis report that their joints are more stiff in the morning, and the results of this study reveal a likely biological basis to this effect. It's a very exciting prospect that it may be possible to use this new information to improve treatments and pain relief for people affected by arthritis.
Whilst there are various self-help pain management options available, it's important to note that everyone experiences pain in different ways, so we would recommend that people speak to a health care professional to discuss the most appropriate option for them.'