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Mechanisms of Communication in the Mammalian Circadian Timing System

Institute of Neurobiology, Center of Brain, Behavior and Metabolism, University of Lübeck, Marie-Curie-Straße, 23562 Lübeck, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(2), 343;
Received: 18 December 2018 / Revised: 8 January 2019 / Accepted: 10 January 2019 / Published: 15 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circadian Rhythms: Molecular and Physiological Mechanisms)
24-h rhythms in physiology and behaviour are organized by a body-wide network of endogenous circadian clocks. In mammals, a central pacemaker in the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) integrates external light information to adapt cellular clocks in all tissues and organs to the external light-dark cycle. Together, central and peripheral clocks co-regulate physiological rhythms and functions. In this review, we outline the current knowledge about the routes of communication between the environment, the main pacemakers and the downstream clocks in the body, focusing on what we currently know and what we still need to understand about the communication mechanisms by which centrally and peripherally controlled timing signals coordinate physiological functions and behaviour. We highlight recent findings that shed new light on the internal organization and function of the SCN and neuroendocrine mechanisms mediating clock-to-clock coupling. These findings have implications for our understanding of circadian network entrainment and for potential manipulations of the circadian clock system in therapeutic settings. View Full-Text
Keywords: circadian clocks; peripheral clocks; suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN); entrainment; resetting; zeitgeber circadian clocks; peripheral clocks; suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN); entrainment; resetting; zeitgeber
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Astiz, M.; Heyde, I.; Oster, H. Mechanisms of Communication in the Mammalian Circadian Timing System. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 343.

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