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CL slider1920x600 PublishedResearch6 11 2020

Martin Moore-Ede*,1 , Anneke Heitmann*,† and Rainer Guttkuhn† *Circadian Light Research Center, Circadian ZircLight, Inc., Stoneham, Massachusetts, † Data Analytics Department, Circadian Technologies, Inc., Stoneham, Massachusetts


Electric light has enabled humans to conquer the night, but light exposure at night can disrupt the circadian timing system and is associated with a diverse range of health disorders. To provide adequate lighting for visual tasks without disrupting the human circadian timing system, a precise definition of circadian spectral sensitivity is required. Prior attempts to define the circadian spectral sensitivity curve have used short (≤90-min) monochromatic light exposures in dark-adapted human subjects or in vitro dark-adapted isolated retina or melanopsin. Several lines of evidence suggest that these dark-adapted circadian spectral sensitivity curves, in addition to 430- to 499-nm (blue) wavelength sensitivity, may include transient 400- to 429-nm (violet) and 500- to 560-nm (green) components mediated by cone- and rod-originated extrinsic inputs to intrinsi-cally photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs), which decay over the first 2 h of extended light exposure. To test the hypothesis that the human circadian spectral sensitivity in light-adapted conditions may have a nar-rower, predominantly blue, sensitivity, we used 12-h continuous exposures of light-adapted healthy human subjects to 6 polychromatic white light-emitting diode (LED) light sources with diverse spectral power distributions at recommended workplace levels of illumination (540 lux) to determine their effect on the area under curve of the overnight (2000–0800 h) salivary melatonin. We derived a narrow steady-state human Circadian Potency spectral sensitivity curve with a peak at 477 nm and a full-width half-maxi-mum of 438 to 493 nm. This light-adapted Circadian Potency spectral sensi-tivity permits the development of spectrally engineered LED light sources to minimize circadian disruption and address the health risks of light exposure at night in our 24/7 society, by alternating between daytime circadian stimu-latory white light spectra and nocturnal circadian protective white light spectra.

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