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Abstract

We developed a non-invasive method to measure and quantify human circadian PER2 gene expression in oral mucosa samples and show that this gene oscillates in a circadian (= about a day) fashion. We also have the first evidence that induction of human PER2 expression is stimulated by exposing subjects to 2 h of light in the evening. This increase in PER2 expression was statistically significant in comparison to a non-light control condition only after light at 460 nm (blue) but not after light exposure at 550 nm (green). Our results indicate that the non-image-forming visual system is involved in human circadian gene expression. The demonstration of a functional circadian machinery in human buccal samples and its response to light opens the door for investigation of human circadian rhythms at the gene level and their associated disorders.