Electrophysiology of the circadian pacemaker in mammals

Chronobiol Int. 2003 Mar;20(2):171-88. doi: 10.1081/cbi-120019311.


The neurons of the mammalian suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) control circadian rhythms in molecular, physiological, endocrine, and behavioral functions. In the SCN, circadian rhythms are generated at the level of individual neurons. The last decade has provided a wealth of information on the genetic basis for circadian rhythm generation. In comparison, a modest but growing number of studies have investigated how the molecular rhythm is translated into neuronal function. Neuronal attributes have been measured at the cellular and tissue level with a variety of electrophysiological techniques. We have summarized electrophysiological research on neurons that constitute the SCN in an attempt to provide a comprehensive view on the current state of the art.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication
  • Circadian Rhythm / genetics
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / physiology
  • Mammals / genetics
  • Mammals / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Second Messenger Systems
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / cytology
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / physiology*


  • Ion Channels