Impact of circadian disruption on health; SIRT1 and Telomeres

DNA Repair (Amst). 2020 Dec;96:102993. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2020.102993. Epub 2020 Sep 30.


Circadian clock is a biochemical oscillator in organisms that regulates the circadian rhythm of numerous genes over 24 h. The circadian clock is involved in telomere homeostasis by regulating the diurnal rhythms of telomerase activity, TERT mRNA level, TERRA expression, and telomeric heterochromatin formation. Particularly, CLOCK and BMAL1 deficiency contribute to telomere shortening by preventing rhythmic telomerase activity and TERRA expression, respectively. Telomere shortening increases the number of senescent cells with impaired circadian rhythms. In return, telomerase reconstitution improves impaired circadian rhythms of senescent cells. SIRT1 that is an NAD+-dependent deacetylase positively regulates circadian clock and telomere homeostasis. SIRT1 contributes to the circadian clock by mediating CLOCK/BMAL1 complex formation, BMAL1 transcription and PER2 disruption. On the other hand, SIRT1 ensures telomere homeostasis by inducing telomerase and shelterin protein expression and regulating telomere heterochromatin formation. SIRT1 inhibition leads to both circadian clock and telomeres dysfunction that inhibit its activity. In light of this current evidence, we could suggest that the BMAL1/CLOCK complex regulates the telomere homeostasis in SIRT1 dependent manner, and also telomere dysfunction inhibits circadian clock function by suppressing SIRT1 activity to induce age-related diseases. We consider that increasing SIRT1 activity can prevent age-related diseases and help healthy aging by protecting telomere integrity and circadian clock function for individuals subjected to circadian rhythm disruption such as shift works, individuals with sleep disorders, and in the elderly population.

Keywords: Circadian clock; Health; SIRT1; Telomeres.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Humans
  • Sirtuin 1 / metabolism*
  • Telomere / metabolism*
  • Telomere Homeostasis


  • Sirtuin 1