Circadian Regulation of Cardiac Arrhythmias and Electrophysiology

Circ Res. 2024 Mar 15;134(6):659-674. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.123.323513. Epub 2024 Mar 14.


Circadian rhythms in physiology and behavior are ≈24-hour biological cycles regulated by internal biological clocks (ie, circadian clocks) that optimize organismal homeostasis in response to predictable environmental changes. These clocks are present in virtually all cells in the body, including cardiomyocytes. Many decades ago, clinicians and researchers became interested in studying daily patterns of triggers for sudden cardiac death, the incidence of sudden cardiac death, and cardiac arrhythmias. This review highlights historical and contemporary studies examining the role of day/night rhythms in the timing of cardiovascular events, delves into changes in the timing of these events over the last few decades, and discusses cardiovascular disease-specific differences in the timing of cardiovascular events. The current understanding of the environmental, behavioral, and circadian mechanisms that regulate cardiac electrophysiology is examined with a focus on the circadian regulation of cardiac ion channels and ion channel regulatory genes. Understanding the contribution of environmental, behavioral, and circadian rhythms on arrhythmia susceptibility and the incidence of sudden cardiac death will be essential in developing future chronotherapies.

Keywords: arrhythmias, cardiac; cardiac electrophysiology; circadian clocks; circadian rhythms; death, sudden, cardiac.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac*
  • Cardiac Electrophysiology
  • Circadian Clocks*
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / etiology
  • Humans
  • Myocytes, Cardiac