Brain Clocks, Sleep, and Mood

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2021:1344:71-86. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-81147-1_5.


The suprachiasmatic nucleus houses the master clock, but the genes which encode the circadian clock components are also expressed throughout the brain. Here, we review how circadian clock transcription factors regulate neuromodulator systems such as histamine, dopamine, and orexin that promote arousal. These circadian transcription factors all lead to repression of the histamine, dopamine, and orexin systems during the sleep period, so ensuring integration with the ecology of the animal. If these transcription factors are deleted or mutated, in addition to the global disturbances in circadian rhythms, this causes a chronic up-regulation of neuromodulators leading to hyperactivity, elevated mood, and reduced sleep, which have been suggested to be states resembling mania.

Keywords: Dopamine; Histamine; Histidine decarboxylase; Hypothalamus; Lateral habenula; Mania; NREM sleep; Orexin; Tyrosine dehydroxylase; Ventral tegmental area.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain
  • Circadian Clocks*
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Sleep
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus*