Basic mechanisms of circadian regulation in the brain
Circadian clocks regulate the adaptation of the organism to the rotation of the earth around its axis. In mammals the circadian timing system is comprised of numerous cellular oscillators throughout the brain and the body. In the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus a circadian pacemaker is synchronized to the external light/dark cycle via direct innervation along the retinohypothalamic tract. From the SCN, peripheral clocks are synchronized by neuronal, endocrine and behavioral means. Close interaction between different tissue oscillators in brain and periphery is essential for maintaining plasticity of circadian regulation under different environmental conditions. For example, SCN and adrenocortical clocks together regulate the entrainment of glucocorticoid secretion to the light/dark cycle.
In this talk I will summarize the knowledge on the regulation of molecular and endocrine rhythms by different tissue oscillators and present some of our recent approaches to unravel the communication pathways within the mammalian circadian timing system.
Declaration of interest: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research project.
Funding: This work was supported, however funding details are unavailable.