The master mammalian circadian clock (i.e. central clock), located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus, orchestrates the synchronization of the daily behavioural and physiological rhythms to better adapt the organism to the external environment in an anticipatory manner. This central clock is entrained by a variety of signals, the best established being light and food. However, circadian cycles are not simply the consequences of these two cues but are generated by endogenous circadian clocks. Indeed, clock machinery is found in mainly all tissues and cell types, including cells of the vascular system such as endothelial cells, fibroblasts, smooth muscle cells and stem cells. This machinery physiologically contributes to modulate the daily vascular function, and its disturbance therefore plays a major role in the pathophysiology of vascular dysfunction. Therapies targeting the circadian rhythm may therefore be of benefit against vascular disease.
Keywords: Circadian rhythm; Clock machinery; Vascular function.
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