Clock genes, pancreatic function, and diabetes

Trends Mol Med. 2014 Dec;20(12):685-93. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2014.10.007. Epub 2014 Nov 5.


Circadian physiology is responsible for the temporal regulation of metabolism to optimize energy homeostasis throughout the day. Disturbances in the light/dark cycle, sleep/wake schedule, or feeding/activity behavior can affect the circadian function of the clocks located in the brain and peripheral tissues. These alterations have been associated with impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes. Animal models with molecular manipulation of clock genes and genetic studies in humans also support these links. It has been demonstrated that the endocrine pancreas has an intrinsic self-sustained clock, and recent studies have revealed an important role of clock genes in pancreatic β cells, glucose homeostasis, and diabetes.

Keywords: clock genes; diabetes; insulin; pancreas; β cell.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CLOCK Proteins / genetics*
  • CLOCK Proteins / metabolism
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Pancreas / metabolism*


  • Insulin
  • CLOCK Proteins