Modeling the influence of circadian rhythms on the acute inflammatory response

J Theor Biol. 2010 Jun 7;264(3):1068-76. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2010.03.026. Epub 2010 Mar 20.


A wide variety of modeling techniques have been applied towards understanding inflammation. These models have broad potential applications, from optimizing clinical trials to improving clinical care. Models have been developed to study specific systems and diseases, but the effect of circadian rhythms on the inflammatory response has not been modeled. Circadian rhythms are normal biological variations obeying the 24-h light/dark cycle and have been shown to play a critical role in the treatment and progression of many diseases. Several of the key components of the inflammatory response, including cytokines and hormones, have been observed to undergo significant diurnal variations in plasma concentration. It is hypothesized that these diurnal rhythms are entrained by the cyclic production of the hormones cortisol and melatonin, as stimulated by the central clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Based on this hypothesis, a mathematical model of the interplay between inflammation and circadian rhythms is developed. The model is validated by its ability to reproduce diverse sets of experimental data and clinical observations concerning the temporal sensitivity of the inflammatory response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Endotoxemia / blood
  • Endotoxemia / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / physiopathology*
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood
  • Melatonin / blood
  • Models, Biological*


  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Melatonin
  • Hydrocortisone