Misalignment between natural light rhythm and modern life activities induces disruption of the circadian rhythm. It is mainly evident that light at night (LAN) interferes with the human endocrine system and contributes to the increasing rates of obesity and lipid metabolic disease. Maintaining hepatointestinal circadian homeostasis is vital for improving lipid homeostasis. Melatonin is a chronobiotic substance that plays a main role in stabilizing bodily rhythm and has shown beneficial effects in protecting against obesity. Based on the dual effect of circadian rhythm regulation and antiobesity, we tested the effect of melatonin in mice under constant light exposure. Exposure to 24-h constant light (LL) increased weight and insulin resistance compared with those of the control group (12-h light–12-h dark cycle, LD), and simultaneous supplementation in the melatonin group (LLM) ameliorated this phenotype. Constant light exposure disturbed the expression pattern of a series of transcripts, including lipid metabolism, circadian regulation and nuclear receptors in the liver. Melatonin also showed beneficial effects in improving lipid metabolism and circadian rhythm homeostasis. Furthermore, the LL group had increased absorption and digestion of lipids in the intestine as evidenced by the elevated influx of lipids in the duodenum and decrease in the efflux of lipids in the jejunum. More interestingly, melatonin ameliorated the gut microbiota dysbiosis and improved lipid efflux from the intestine. Thus, these findings offer a novel clue regarding the obesity-promoting effect attributed to LAN and suggest a possibility for obesity therapy by melatonin in which melatonin could ameliorate rhythm disorder and intestinal dysbiosis.
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