Differential involvement of the suprachiasmatic nucleus in lipopolysaccharide-induced plasma glucose and corticosterone responses

Chronobiol Int. 2012 Aug;29(7):835-49. doi: 10.3109/07420528.2012.699123.


The hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is an essential component of the circadian timing system, and an important determinant of neuroendocrine and metabolic regulation. Recent data indicate a modulatory role for the immune system on the circadian timing system. The authors investigated how the circadian timing system affects the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and glucose regulatory responses evoked by an immune challenge induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS). LPS-induced increases in corticosterone were minimal during the trough of the daily corticosterone rhythm; in contrast, LPS effects on glucose, glucagon, and insulin did not vary across time-of-day. Complete ablation of the SCN resulted in increased corticosterone responses but did not affect LPS-induced hyperglycemia. The paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus is an important neuroendocrine and autonomic output pathway for hypothalamic information, as well as one of the main target areas of the SCN. Silencing the neuronal activity in the PVN did not affect the LPS-induced corticosterone surge and only slightly delayed the LPS-induced plasma glucose and glucagon responses. Finally, surgical interruption of the neuronal connection between hypothalamus and liver did not affect the corticosterone response but slightly delayed the LPS-induced glucose response. Together, these data support the previously proposed circadian modulation of LPS-induced neuroendocrine responses, but they are at variance with the suggested major role for the hypothalamic pacemaker on the autonomic output of the hypothalamus, as reflected by the effects of LPS on glucose homeostasis. The latter effects are more likely due to direct interactions of LPS with peripheral tissues, such as the liver.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Circadian Rhythm / drug effects
  • Circadian Rhythm / immunology
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Corticosterone / blood*
  • Food Deprivation
  • Glucagon / blood
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiology
  • Lipopolysaccharides / administration & dosage
  • Liver / innervation
  • Liver / physiology
  • Male
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus / physiology
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / drug effects
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / immunology
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / physiology*
  • Sympathectomy, Chemical


  • Blood Glucose
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Glucagon
  • Corticosterone