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The role of the circadian clock system in nutrition and metabolism

  • Felino R. Cagampang (a1) and Kimberley D. Bruce (a1)

Mammals have an endogenous timing system in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) of the hypothalamic region of the brain. This internal clock system is composed of an intracellular feedback loop that drives the expression of molecular components and their constitutive protein products to oscillate over a period of about 24 h (hence the term ‘circadian’). These circadian oscillations bring about rhythmic changes in downstream molecular pathways and physiological processes such as those involved in nutrition and metabolism. It is now emerging that the molecular components of the clock system are also found within the cells of peripheral tissues, including the gastrointestinal tract, liver and pancreas. The present review examines their role in regulating nutritional and metabolic processes. In turn, metabolic status and feeding cycles are able to feed back onto the circadian clock in the SCN and in peripheral tissues. This feedback mechanism maintains the integrity and temporal coordination between various components of the circadian clock system. Thus, alterations in environmental cues could disrupt normal clock function, which may have profound effects on the health and well-being of an individual.

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*Corresponding author: Dr F. R. Cagampang, email
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British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition
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