The adaptation of organisms to a rhythmic environment is mediated by an internal timing system termed the circadian clock. In mammals, molecular clocks are found in all tissues and organs. This circadian clock network regulates the release of many hormones, which in turn influence some of the most vital behavioural functions. Sleep–wake cycles are under strict circadian control with strong influence of rhythmic hormones such as melatonin, cortisol and others. Food intake, in contrast, receives circadian modulation through hormones such as leptin, ghrelin, insulin and orexin. A third behavioural output covered in this review is mating and bonding behaviours, regulated through circadian rhythms in steroid hormones and oxytocin. Together, these data emphasize the pervasive influence of the circadian clock system on behavioural outputs and its mediation through endocrine networks.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)