Here’s a question for you, why do you think people are normally cheery on a sunny day than that on a gloomy day? This is because light has been proved to have anti-depressant effects. It is energizing and refreshing for us. But why is it so? This is the question that we seek to solve through this project.
Although the positive effects of light on our mood and energy have been acknowledged for over a thousand years now, yet we haven’t identified the molecules that are responsible for this. Long back, in the year 1996, there was a proposed theoretical model that argued that just like chlorophyll in plants absorbs sunlight for their energy, so humans and animals have similar molecules that play the exact same role – the hemoglobin in our red blood cells absorbs sunlight. In 2012, Marek Koziorowski at the University of Rzeszow in Poland had made a significant progress in this field by depicting elevated levels of carbon monoxide in retinal vein blood during bright summer daylight. Our project basically consists of assessing the truth of these theories.
When it comes to plant biology, we know that chlorophyll is a major light absorber of energy. But our understanding of human and animal biology is flawed since we have no clue as to which molecules absorb light in our body. So, we will be testing the proposed role of hemoglobin and our blood in producing gas neurotransmitters (carbon monoxide and nitric oxide) that are proposed to give energy and result in an improved mood. If we are able to successfully establish the verity of these theories, it could provide major insights into the regulation of the brain by light and the biochemistry of mood disorders.
We will be using wild boar offspring and domestic pigs having significant seasonal variation in physiology and activity, as the subjects of our experiments, owing to their docile nature. Everything will be conducted under animal ethics committee review, with local anesthesia to assure that no pain is inflicted upon the animals during conduct of blood sampling. Our goal is to assess blood levels of carbon monoxide in retinal venous drainage during shortest and longest days of the year for 48 hours.
We need a handsome sum of money to maintain and care for the animals, collect their blood samples, and arrange for the reagents to analyze the neurotransmitters. Since all of this is quite expensive, we are looking forward to your generous donations to help us fund this project.