The choroid plexus harbors a circadian oscillator modulated by estrogens

Chronobiol Int. 2018 Feb;35(2):270-279. doi: 10.1080/07420528.2017.1400978. Epub 2017 Nov 27.


The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus is considered the master circadian oscillator in mammals. However, extra-SCN structures in the brain also display daily rhythms. Recently, we have demonstrated that the choroid plexus (CP) expresses core clock genes that are subjected to circadian regulation in a sex-dependent manner. By using CP explants cultured from female knock-in mice carrying the Period-luciferase transgene, we show that CP exhibits endogenous circadian rhythms of PERIOD2::LUCIFERASE expression. Furthermore, we demonstrate that estrogen declines following ovariectomy modulates the daily rhythm expression of Bmal1, Per1 and Per2 in female rat CP, corroborating data obtained in experiments where rat CP epithelial cell (CPEC) cultures were incubated with 17β-estradiol (E2). The molecular mechanism underlying these effects was also investigated, and we provide evidence that the estrogen receptor (ER) mediates the response of clock genes to E2. In conclusion, our study proves that the CP harbors a circadian oscillator that is modulated by estrogens and demonstrates that E2 regulation occurs through an estrogen-receptor-dependent mechanism.

Keywords: choroid plexus; circadian rhythms; clock genes; estrogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Choroid Plexus / metabolism*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Estrogens / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Luciferases / metabolism
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Period Circadian Proteins / metabolism*
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / metabolism
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / physiology


  • Estrogens
  • Period Circadian Proteins
  • Luciferases