Circadian System and Glucose Metabolism: Implications for Physiology and Disease

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2016 May;27(5):282-293. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2016.03.005. Epub 2016 Apr 11.


The circadian system serves one of the most fundamental properties present in nearly all organisms: it generates 24-h rhythms in behavioral and physiological processes and enables anticipating and adapting to daily environmental changes. Recent studies indicate that the circadian system is important in regulating the daily rhythm in glucose metabolism. Disturbance of this circadian control or of its coordination relative to the environmental/behavioral cycle, such as in shift work, eating late, or due to genetic changes, results in disturbed glucose control and increased type 2 diabetes risk. Therefore, an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms underlying glucose regulation by the circadian system and its disturbance may help in the development of therapeutic interventions against the deleterious health consequences of circadian disruption.

Keywords: circadian rhythms; food timing; glucose metabolism; melatonin; sleep; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm / genetics
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Melatonin / metabolism
  • Sleep / genetics
  • Sleep / physiology


  • Glucose
  • Melatonin