Disruption of Daily Rhythms by High-Fat Diet Is Reversible

PLoS One. 2015 Sep 14;10(9):e0137970. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137970. eCollection 2015.


In mammals a network of circadian clocks coordinates behavior and physiology with 24-h environmental cycles. Consumption of high-fat diet disrupts this temporal coordination by advancing the phase of the liver molecular clock and altering daily rhythms of eating behavior and locomotor activity. In this study we sought to determine whether these effects of high-fat diet on circadian rhythms were reversible. We chronically fed mice high-fat diet and then returned them to low-fat chow diet. We found that the phase of the liver PERIOD2::LUCIFERASE rhythm was advanced (by 4h) and the daily rhythms of eating behavior and locomotor activity were altered for the duration of chronic high-fat diet feeding. Upon diet reversal, the eating behavior rhythm was rapidly reversed (within 2 days) and the phase of the liver clock was restored by 7 days of diet reversal. In contrast, the daily pattern of locomotor activity was not restored even after 2 weeks of diet reversal. Thus, while the circadian system is sensitive to changes in the macronutrient composition of food, the eating behavior rhythm and liver circadian clock are specifically tuned to respond to changes in diet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Clocks / drug effects*
  • Circadian Clocks / genetics
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Period Circadian Proteins / genetics
  • Period Circadian Proteins / metabolism*
  • Time Factors


  • Dietary Fats
  • Per2 protein, mouse
  • Period Circadian Proteins