Hypophosphatemia Regulates Molecular Mechanisms of Circadian Rhythm

Sci Rep. 2018 Sep 13;8(1):13756. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-31830-7.


Transcriptomic analysis showed that the central circadian pathway genes had significantly altered expression in fracture calluses from mice fed a low phosphate diet. This led us to hypothesize that phosphate deficiency altered the circadian cycle in peripheral tissues. Analysis of the expression of the central clock genes over a 24-36 hour period in multiple peripheral tissues including fracture callus, proximal tibia growth plate and cardiac tissues after 12 days on a low phosphate diet showed higher levels of gene expression in the hypophosphatemia groups (p < 0.001) and a 3 to 6 hour elongation of the circadian cycle. A comparative analysis of the callus tissue transcriptome genes that were differentially regulated by hypophosphatemia with published data for the genes in bone that are diurnally regulated identified 1879 genes with overlapping differential regulation, which were shown by ontology assessment to be associated with oxidative metabolism and apoptosis. Network analysis of the central circadian pathway genes linked their expression to the up regulated expression of the histone methyltransferase gene EZH2, a gene that when mutated in both humans and mice controls overall skeletal growth. These data suggest that phosphate is an essential metabolite that controls circadian function in both skeletal and non skeletal peripheral tissues and associates its levels with the overall oxidative metabolism and skeletal growth of animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • CLOCK Proteins / genetics*
  • Circadian Clocks / genetics
  • Circadian Rhythm / genetics*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 Protein / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Humans
  • Hypophosphatemia / genetics*
  • Hypophosphatemia / metabolism
  • Hypophosphatemia / pathology
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Mice
  • Phosphates / metabolism
  • Skeleton / growth & development
  • Skeleton / metabolism
  • Transcriptome / genetics


  • Phosphates
  • Enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 Protein
  • Ezh2 protein, mouse
  • CLOCK Proteins