Meal frequency patterns determine the phase of mouse peripheral circadian clocks

Sci Rep. 2012;2:711. doi: 10.1038/srep00711. Epub 2012 Oct 5.


Peripheral circadian clocks in mammals are strongly entrained by light-dark and eating cycles. Their physiological functions are maintained by the synchronization of the phase of organs via clock gene expression patterns. However, little is known about the adaptation of peripheral clocks to the timing of multiple daily meals. Here, we investigated the effect of irregular eating patterns, in terms of timing and volume, on their peripheral clocks in vivo. We found that the phase of the peripheral clocks was altered by the amount of food and the interval between feeding time points but was unaffected by the frequency of feeding, as long as the interval remained fixed. Moreover, our results suggest that a late dinner should be separated into 2 half-dinners in order to alleviate the effect of irregular phases of peripheral clocks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Animals
  • Circadian Clocks / physiology*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Eating / physiology
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Knock-In Techniques
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Light
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Luciferases
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Period Circadian Proteins / genetics
  • Period Circadian Proteins / metabolism
  • Photoperiod
  • Submandibular Gland / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Per2 protein, mouse
  • Period Circadian Proteins
  • Luciferases