Circadian influences on feeding behavior

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Feeding, like many other biological functions, displays a daily rhythm. This daily rhythmicity is controlled by the circadian timing system of which the central master clock is located in the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Other brain areas and tissues throughout the body also display rhythmic functions and contain the molecular clock mechanism known as peripheral oscillators. To generate the daily feeding rhythm, the SCN signals to different hypothalamic areas with the lateral hypothalamus, paraventricular nucleus and arcuate nucleus being the most prominent. With respect to the rewarding aspects of feeding behavior, the dopaminergic system is also under circadian influence. However the SCN projects only indirectly to the different reward regions, such as the ventral tegmental area where dopamine neurons are located. In addition, high palatable, high caloric diets have the potential to disturb the normal daily rhythms of physiology and have been shown to alter for example meal patterns. Around a meal several hormones and peptides are released that are also under circadian influence. For example, the release of postprandial insulin and glucagon-like peptide following a meal depend on the time of the day. Finally, we review the effect of deletion of different clock genes on feeding behavior. The most prominent effect on feeding behavior has been observed in Clock mutants, whereas deletion of Bmal1 and Per1/2 only disrupts the day-night rhythm, but not overall intake. Data presented here focus on the rodent literature as only limited data are available on the mechanisms underlying daily rhythms in human eating behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110007
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2024


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