Circadian Transcription from Beta Cell Function to Diabetes Pathophysiology

J Biol Rhythms. 2016 Aug;31(4):323-36. doi: 10.1177/0748730416656949.


The mammalian circadian clock plays a central role in the temporal coordination of physiology across the 24-h light-dark cycle. A major function of the clock is to maintain energy constancy in anticipation of alternating periods of fasting and feeding that correspond with sleep and wakefulness. While it has long been recognized that humans exhibit robust variation in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity across the sleep-wake cycle, experimental genetic analysis has now revealed that the clock transcription cycle plays an essential role in insulin secretion and metabolic function within pancreatic beta cells. This review addresses how studies of the beta cell clock may elucidate the etiology of subtypes of diabetes associated with circadian and sleep cycle disruption, in addition to more general forms of the disease.

Keywords: circadian transcription; diabetes; genomics; mouse genetics; pancreatic beta cell.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Clocks
  • Circadian Rhythm / genetics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Fasting
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance / genetics
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Photoperiod
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Wakefulness


  • Insulin