Endocrine regulation of circadian physiology

    1. Henrik Oster
    1. Medical Department I, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany
    1. Correspondence should be addressed to H Oster; Email: henrik.oster{at}uksh.de


    Endogenous circadian clocks regulate 24-h rhythms of behavior and physiology to align with external time. The endocrine system serves as a major clock output to regulate various biological processes. Recent findings suggest that some of the rhythmic hormones can also provide feedback to the circadian system at various levels, thus contributing to maintaining the robustness of endogenous rhythmicity. This delicate balance of clock–hormone interaction is vulnerable to modern lifestyle factors such as shiftwork or high-calorie diets, altering physiological set points. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on the communication between the circadian timing and endocrine systems, with a focus on adrenal glucocorticoids and metabolic peptide hormones. We explore the potential role of hormones as systemic feedback signals to adjust clock function and their relevance for the maintenance of physiological and metabolic circadian homeostasis.

    • Received 8 April 2016
    • Accepted 20 April 2016
    • Made available online as an Accepted Preprint 1 July 2016
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