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Science 289 (5488): 2344-2347

Copyright © 2000 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Resetting of Circadian Time in Peripheral Tissues by Glucocorticoid Signaling

Aurélio Balsalobre,1 Steven A. Brown,1 Lysiane Marcacci,1 François Tronche,2 Christoph Kellendonk,2* Holger M. Reichardt,2 Günther Schütz,2 Ueli Schibler1dagger

In mammals, circadian oscillators reside not only in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the brain, which harbors the central pacemaker, but also in most peripheral tissues. Here, we show that the glucocorticoid hormone analog dexamethasone induces circadian gene expression in cultured rat-1 fibroblasts and transiently changes the phase of circadian gene expression in liver, kidney, and heart. However, dexamethasone does not affect cyclic gene expression in neurons of the suprachiasmatic nucleus. This enabled us to establish an apparent phase-shift response curve specifically for peripheral clocks in intact animals. In contrast to the central clock, circadian oscillators in peripheral tissues appear to remain responsive to phase resetting throughout the day.

1 Département de Biologie Moléculaire, Sciences II, Université de Genève, 30 Quai Ernest Ansermet, CH-1211 Genève, Switzerland.
2 Molecular Biology of the Cell, Deutsches Krebsforschungzentrum, Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120 Heidelberg, Federal Republic of Germany.
*   Present address: Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, 722 West 168th Street, Research Annex, New York, NY 10032, USA

dagger    To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ueli.schibler{at}

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J Biol Rhythms 22, 324-334
   Abstract »    PDF »
Peripheral Circadian Clocks in the Vasculature.
D. F. Reilly, E. J. Westgate, and G. A. FitzGerald (2007)
Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 27, 1694-1705
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Growth hormone regulation of metabolic gene expression in muscle: a microarray study in hypopituitary men.
K. Sjogren, K.-C. Leung, W. Kaplan, M. Gardiner-Garden, J. Gibney, and K. K. Y. Ho (2007)
Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 293, E364-E371
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »

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