Interconnections between circadian clocks and metabolism

J Clin Invest. 2021 Aug 2;131(15):e148278. doi: 10.1172/JCI148278.


Circadian rhythms evolved through adaptation to daily light/dark changes in the environment; they are believed to be regulated by the core circadian clock interlocking feedback loop. Recent studies indicate that each core component executes general and specific functions in metabolism. Here, we review the current understanding of the role of these core circadian clock genes in the regulation of metabolism using various genetically modified animal models. Additionally, emerging evidence shows that exposure to environmental stimuli, such as artificial light, unbalanced diet, mistimed eating, and exercise, remodels the circadian physiological processes and causes metabolic disorders. This Review summarizes the reciprocal regulation between the circadian clock and metabolism, highlights remaining gaps in knowledge about the regulation of circadian rhythms and metabolism, and examines potential applications to human health and disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Clocks*
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Humans
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / genetics
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / metabolism*