Interactions between endocrine and circadian systems

J Mol Endocrinol. 2013 Dec 19;52(1):R1-16. doi: 10.1530/JME-13-0118. Print 2014 Feb.


In most species, endogenous circadian clocks regulate 24-h rhythms of behavior and physiology. Clock disruption has been associated with decreased cognitive performance and increased propensity to develop obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Many hormonal factors show robust diurnal secretion rhythms, some of which are involved in mediating clock output from the brain to peripheral tissues. In this review, we describe the mechanisms of clock-hormone interaction in mammals, the contribution of different tissue oscillators to hormonal regulation, and how changes in circadian timing impinge on endocrine signalling and downstream processes. We further summarize recent findings suggesting that hormonal signals may feed back on circadian regulation and how this crosstalk interferes with physiological and metabolic homeostasis.

Keywords: adipokines; circadian clocks; cortisol; endocrine rhythm; melatonin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Glands / physiology
  • Animals
  • Circadian Clocks / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Endocrine System / physiology*
  • Hormones / physiology
  • Humans
  • Pineal Gland / physiology
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / physiology


  • Hormones