Forced rather than voluntary exercise entrains peripheral clocks via a corticosterone/noradrenaline increase in PER2::LUC mice

Sci Rep. 2016 Jun 8;6:27607. doi: 10.1038/srep27607.


Exercise during the inactive period can entrain locomotor activity and peripheral circadian clock rhythm in mice; however, mechanisms underlying this entrainment are yet to be elucidated. Here, we showed that the bioluminescence rhythm of peripheral clocks in PER2::LUC mice was strongly entrained by forced treadmill and forced wheel-running exercise rather than by voluntary wheel-running exercise at middle time during the inactivity period. Exercise-induced entrainment was accompanied by increased levels of serum corticosterone and norepinephrine in peripheral tissues, similar to the physical stress-induced response. Adrenalectomy with norepinephrine receptor blockers completely blocked the treadmill exercise-induced entrainment. The entrainment of the peripheral clock by exercise is independent of the suprachiasmatic nucleus clock, the main oscillator in mammals. The present results suggest that the response of forced exercise, but not voluntary exercise, may be similar to that of stress, and possesses the entrainment ability of peripheral clocks through the activation of the adrenal gland and the sympathetic nervous system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Glands / metabolism
  • Adrenal Glands / physiology
  • Animals
  • Circadian Clocks / genetics*
  • Corticosterone / blood
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / genetics*
  • Norepinephrine / blood
  • Period Circadian Proteins / genetics*
  • Period Circadian Proteins / metabolism
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / physiology
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / metabolism
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiology


  • Per2 protein, mouse
  • Period Circadian Proteins
  • Corticosterone
  • Norepinephrine