Altered expression of circadian clock genes in polyglandular autoimmune syndrome type III

Endocrine. 2018 Jan;59(1):109-119. doi: 10.1007/s12020-017-1407-1. Epub 2017 Sep 7.


Purpose: Circadian timing system is a highly conserved, ubiquitous molecular "clock" which creates internal circadian rhythmicity. Dysregulation of clock genes expression is associated with various diseases including immune dysregulation. In this study we investigated the circadian pattern of Clock-related genes in patients with polyglandular autoimmune syndrome type III (PAS type III).

Methods: Nineteen patients diagnosed with PAS type III and 12 healthy controls were enrolled. mRNA and protein expression of Clock-related genes (CLOCK, BMAL1, ROR and Per-1,-2,-3), as well as the GR-a and the GILZ genes were determined by real-time quantitative PCR and western blot analysis from blood samples drawn at 8 pm and 8am. Serum cortisol and TSH, as well as plasma ACTH, were measured by chemiluminescence.

Results: There were no statistical significant differences in the metabolic profile, cortisol, ACTH and TSH levels between patients and controls. Patients with PAS type III expressed higher transcript levels of CLOCK, BMAL1 and Per-1 in the evening than in the morning (p = 0.03, p = 0.029, p = 0.013, respectively), while the ratios (Rpm/am) of GR-a, CLOCK, BMAL1, and Per-3 mRNA levels were statistically different between patients and controls. Cortisol circadian variation (Fpm/am) was positively correlated with GILZ mRNA circadian pattern (Rpm/am) in the patient group and with the GR-a mRNA (Rpm/am) in the control group.

Conclucions: Our findings suggest that there is an aberrant circadian rhythm of Clock-related genes in patients with PAS type III. The disruption of the expression of 4 circadian Clock-related genes could indicate a possible association with the pathogenesis of the disease.

Keywords: BMAL1; CLOCK; Clock genes; GR-a; PER; Polyglandular syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Circadian Rhythm / genetics*
  • Circadian Rhythm Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polyendocrinopathies, Autoimmune / genetics*
  • Polyendocrinopathies, Autoimmune / pathology


  • Circadian Rhythm Signaling Peptides and Proteins