The role of clock genes and circadian rhythm in the development of cardiovascular diseases

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2015 Sep;72(17):3225-34. doi: 10.1007/s00018-015-1923-1. Epub 2015 May 14.


The time of onset of cardiovascular disorders such as myocardial infarctions or ventricular arrhythmias exhibits a circadian rhythm. Diurnal variations in autonomic nervous activity, plasma cortisol level or renin-angiotensin activity underlie the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases. Transcriptional-translational feedback loop of the clock genes constitute a molecular clock system. In addition to the central clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, clock genes are also expressed in a circadian fashion in each organ to make up the peripheral clock. The peripheral clock seems to be beneficial for anticipating external stimuli and thus contributes to the maintenance of organ homeostasis. Loss of synchronization between the central and peripheral clocks also augments disease progression. Moreover, accumulating evidence shows that clock genes affect inflammatory and intracellular metabolic signaling. Elucidating the roles of the molecular clock in cardiovascular pathology through the identification of clock controlled genes will help to establish a novel therapeutic approach for cardiovascular disorders.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / genetics*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / physiopathology
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology
  • CLOCK Proteins / genetics*
  • Circadian Rhythm / genetics
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Feedback, Physiological / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Models, Biological*
  • Myocardial Infarction / genetics*
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / physiology


  • CLOCK Proteins
  • Hydrocortisone