The circadian neurobiology of reward

Iwona Olejniczak, Kimberly Begemann, Ines Wilhelm, Henrik Oster*

*Corresponding author for this work
2 Citations (Scopus)


Circadian clocks are important regulators of physiology and behavior. In the brain, circadian clocks have been described in many centers of the central reward system. They affect neurotransmitter signaling, neuroendocrine circuits, and the sensitivity to external stimulation. Circadian disruption affects reward signaling, promoting the development of behavioral and substance use disorders. In this review, we summarize our current knowledge of circadian clock-reward crosstalk. We show how chronodisruption affects reward signaling in different animal models. We then translate these findings to circadian aspects of human reward (dys-) function and its clinical implications. Finally, we devise approaches to and challenges in implementing the concepts of circadian medicine in the therapy of substance use disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13928
JournalActa Physiologica
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
  • 110-02 Biological Psychology and Cognitive Neurosciences
  • 206-08 Cognitive and Systemic Human Neuroscience

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