Circadian rhythms in adipose tissue physiology

Jana Thabea Kiehn, Anthony H. Tsang, Isabel Heyde, Brinja Leinweber, Isa Kolbe, Alexei Leliavski, Henrik Oster*

*Corresponding author for this work
7 Citations (Scopus)


The different types of adipose tissues fulfill a wide range of biological functions-from energy storage to hormone secretion and thermogenesis-many of which show pronounced variations over the course of the day. Such 24-h rhythms in physiology and behavior are coordinated by endogenous circadian clocks found in all tissues and cells, including adipocytes. At the molecular level, these clocks are based on interlocked transcriptional-translational feedback loops comprised of a set of clock genes/proteins. Tissue-specific clock-controlled transcriptional programs translate time-of-day information into physiologically relevant signals. In adipose tissues, clock gene control has been documented for adipocyte proliferation and differentiation, lipid metabolism as well as endocrine function and other adipose oscillations are under control of systemic signals tied to endocrine, neuronal, or behavioral rhythms. Circadian rhythm disruption, for example, by night shift work or through genetic alterations, is associated with changes in adipocyte metabolism and hormone secretion. At the same time, adipose metabolic state feeds back to central and peripheral clocks, adjusting behavioral and physiological rhythms. In this overview article, we summarize our current knowledge about the crosstalk between circadian clocks and energy metabolism with a focus on adipose physiology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalComprehensive Physiology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)383-427
Number of pages45
Publication statusPublished - 01.04.2017

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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