Circadian Clock Genes Per1 and Per2 Regulate the Response of Metabolism-Associated Transcripts to Sleep Disruption

Jana Husse, Sophie Charlotte Hintze, Gregor Eichele, Hendrik Lehnert, Henrik Oster*

*Corresponding author for this work
40 Citations (Scopus)


Human and animal studies demonstrate that short sleep or poor sleep quality, e.g. in night shift workers, promote the development of obesity and diabetes. Effects of sleep disruption on glucose homeostasis and liver physiology are well documented. However, changes in adipokine levels after sleep disruption suggest that adipocytes might be another important peripheral target of sleep. Circadian clocks regulate metabolic homeostasis and clock disruption can result in obesity and the metabolic syndrome. The finding that sleep and clock disruption have very similar metabolic effects prompted us to ask whether the circadian clock machinery may mediate the metabolic consequences of sleep disruption. To test this we analyzed energy homeostasis and adipocyte transcriptome regulation in a mouse model of shift work, in which we prevented mice from sleeping during the first six hours of their normal inactive phase for five consecutive days (timed sleep restriction - TSR). We compared the effects of TSR between wild-type and Per1/2 double mutant mice with the prediction that the absence of a circadian clock in Per1/2 mutants would result in a blunted metabolic response to TSR. In wild-types, TSR induces significant transcriptional reprogramming of white adipose tissue, suggestive of increased lipogenesis, together with increased secretion of the adipokine leptin and increased food intake, hallmarks of obesity and associated leptin resistance. Some of these changes persist for at least one week after the end of TSR, indicating that even short episodes of sleep disruption can induce prolonged physiological impairments. In contrast, Per1/2 deficient mice show blunted effects of TSR on food intake, leptin levels and adipose transcription. We conclude that the absence of a functional clock in Per1/2 double mutants protects these mice from TSR-induced metabolic reprogramming, suggesting a role of the circadian timing system in regulating the physiological effects of sleep disruption.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere52983
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 28.12.2012


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