Circadian regulation of renal function

Kidney Int. 2010 Oct;78(7):640-5. doi: 10.1038/ki.2010.227. Epub 2010 Jul 21.


Urinary excretion of water and all major electrolytes exhibit robust circadian oscillations. The 24-h periodicity has been well documented for several important determinants of urine formation, including renal blood flow, glomerular filtration, tubular reabsorption, and tubular secretion. Disturbance of the renal circadian rhythms is increasingly recognized as a risk factor for hypertension, polyuria, and other diseases and may contribute to renal fibrosis. The origin of these rhythms has been attributed to the reactive response of the kidney to circadian changes in volume and/or in the composition of extracellular fluids that are entrained by rest/activity and feeding/fasting cycles. However, numerous studies have shown that most of the renal excretory rhythms persist for long periods of time, even in the absence of periodic environmental cues. These observations led to the hypothesis of the existence of a self-sustained mechanism, enabling the kidney to anticipate various predictable circadian challenges to homeostasis. The molecular basis of this mechanism remained unknown until the recent discovery of the mammalian circadian clock made of a system of autoregulatory transcriptional/translational feedback loops, which have been found in all tissues studied, including the kidney. Here, we present a review of the growing evidence showing the involvement of the molecular clock in the generation of renal excretory rhythms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Clocks
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Erythropoietin / physiology
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Kidney / physiology*
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance


  • Erythropoietin