Circadian clock and vascular disease

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    • MAEMURA Koji
    • Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences


Cardiovascular functions, including blood pressure and vascular functions, show diurnal oscillation. Circadian variations have been clearly shown in the occurrence of cardiovascular events such as acute myocardial infarction. Circadian rhythm strongly influences human biology and pathology. The identification and characterization of mammalian clock genes revealed that they are expressed almost everywhere throughout the body in a circadian manner. In contrast to the central clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), the clock in each tissue or cell is designated as a peripheral clock. It is now accepted that peripheral clocks have their own roles specific to each peripheral organ by regulating the expression of clock-controlled genes (CCGs), although the oscillation mechanisms of the peripheral clock are similar to that of the SCN. However, little was known about how the peripheral clock in the vasculature contributes to the process of cardiovascular disorders. The biological clock allows each organ or cell to anticipate and prepare for changes in external stimuli. Recent evidence obtained using genetically engineered mice with disrupted circadian rhythm showed a novel function of the internal clock in the pathogenesis of endothelial dysfunction, hypertension and hemostasis. Loss of synchronization between the central and peripheral clock also contributes to the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases, as restoration of clock homeostasis could prevent disease progression. Identification of CCGs in each organ, as well as discovery of tools to manipulate the phase of each biological clock, will be of great help in establishing a novel chronotherapeutic approach to the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disorders.


  • Hypertension research : official journal of the Japanese Society of Hypertension

    Hypertension research : official journal of the Japanese Society of Hypertension 33(7), 645-651, 2010-07-01

References:  87


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