Circadian Rhythm and the Gut Microbiome

Int Rev Neurobiol. 2016:131:193-205. doi: 10.1016/bs.irn.2016.07.002. Epub 2016 Sep 6.


Circadian rhythms are 24-h patterns regulating behavior, organs, and cells in living organisms. These rhythms align biological functions with regular and predictable environmental patterns to optimize function and health. Disruption of these rhythms can be detrimental resulting in metabolic syndrome, cancer, or cardiovascular disease, just to name a few. It is now becoming clear that the intestinal microbiome is also regulated by circadian rhythms via intrinsic circadian clocks as well as via the host organism. Microbiota rhythms are regulated by diet and time of feeding which can alter both microbial community structure and metabolic activity which can significantly impact host immune and metabolic function. In this review, we will cover how host circadian rhythms are generated and maintained, how host circadian rhythms can be disrupted, as well as the consequences of circadian rhythm disruption. We will further highlight the newly emerging literature indicating the importance of circadian rhythms of the intestinal microbiota.

Keywords: Circadian rhythms; Intestinal circadian rhythms; Intestinal microbiota; Microbiome; Microbiota circadian rhythms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Humans