Role of the microbiota in circadian rhythms of the host

Chronobiol Int. 2020 Mar;37(3):301-310. doi: 10.1080/07420528.2020.1726374. Epub 2020 Feb 12.


Life for meta-organisms is based on a strong relationship between gut bacteria and body cells. This review summarizes to what extent the microbiota can influence host circadian rhythms via a literature review on the topic. The results show that microbiota can influence the host's circadian gene expression through direct interactions via immunoreceptors and microbiota-derived metabolites, especially in peripheral tissues. Noteworthy metabolites that are only attributable to the microbiota are short-chain fatty acids and unconjugated bile acids. The microbiota also serves as a mediator for the interplay between the host's diet and circadian rhythmicity. This work furthermore displays that the microbiota is subject to diurnal variations in terms of structure and function and that the host and the host's diet influence these fluctuations. As most of these results originate in mouse models, we hope this work stimulates further research in human derived tissue to verify these conclusions.

Keywords: Circadian rhythms; bile acids; microbiota; molecular clocks; polyphenols; short-chain fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Microbiota*


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile