Vasculature on the clock: Circadian rhythm and vascular dysfunction

Vascul Pharmacol. 2018 Sep;108:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.vph.2018.05.003. Epub 2018 May 17.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Vessels / drug effects
  • Blood Vessels / metabolism*
  • Blood Vessels / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Agents / administration & dosage
  • Circadian Rhythm Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Circadian Rhythm Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Drug Chronotherapy
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Hemodynamics* / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Signal Transduction
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / drug effects
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / physiopathology
  • Vascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Vascular Diseases / genetics
  • Vascular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Vascular Diseases / physiopathology


  • Cardiovascular Agents
  • Circadian Rhythm Signaling Peptides and Proteins