Epigenetic Regulation of Circadian Rhythm and Its Possible Role in Diabetes Mellitus

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Apr 24;21(8):3005. doi: 10.3390/ijms21083005.


This review aims to summarize the knowledge about the relationship between circadian rhythms and their influence on the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and metabolic syndrome. Circadian rhythms are controlled by internal molecular feedback loops that synchronize the organism with the external environment. These loops are affected by genetic and epigenetic factors. Genetic factors include polymorphisms and mutations of circadian genes. The expression of circadian genes is regulated by epigenetic mechanisms that change from prenatal development to old age. Epigenetic modifications are influenced by the external environment. Most of these modifications are affected by our own life style. Irregular circadian rhythm and low quality of sleep have been shown to increase the risk of developing T2DM and other metabolic disorders. Here, we attempt to provide a wide description of mutual relationships between epigenetic regulation, circadian rhythm, aging process and highlight new evidences that show possible therapeutic advance in the field of chrono-medicine which will be more important in the upcoming years.

Keywords: aging; circadian clock; epigenetic regulation; metabolic syndrome; sleep; type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Biological Variation, Population
  • Circadian Clocks / genetics
  • Circadian Rhythm / genetics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Disease Susceptibility*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Sleep