Circle(s) of Life: The Circadian Clock from Birth to Death

Iwona Olejniczak, Violetta Pilorz, Henrik Oster*

*Corresponding author for this work
6 Citations (Scopus)


Most lifeforms on earth use endogenous, so-called circadian clocks to adapt to 24-h cycles in environmental demands driven by the planet’s rotation around its axis. Interactions with the environment change over the course of a lifetime, and so does regulation of the circadian clock system. In this review, we summarize how circadian clocks develop in humans and experimental rodents during embryonic development, how they mature after birth and what changes occur during puberty, adolescence and with increasing age. Special emphasis is laid on the circadian regulation of reproductive systems as major organizers of life segments and life span. We discuss differences in sexes and outline potential areas for future research. Finally, potential options for medical applications of lifespan chronobiology are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number383
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 03.2023

Research Areas and Centers

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

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-17 Endocrinology, Diabetology, Metabolism

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