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J Biol Rhythms. 2011 Oct;26(5):412-22. doi: 10.1177/0748730411414170.

Cardiac-specific mutation of Clock alters the quantitative measurements of physical activities without changing behavioral circadian rhythms.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4458, USA.


Even though peripheral circadian oscillators in the cardiovascular system are known to exist, the daily rhythms of the cardiovascular system are mainly attributed to autonomic or hormonal inputs under the control of the central oscillator, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). In order to examine the role of peripheral oscillators in the cardiovascular system, we used a transgenic mouse where the Clock gene is specifically disrupted in cardiomyocytes. In this cardiomyocyte-specific CLOCK mutant (CCM) mouse model, the circadian input from the SCN remains intact. Both CCM and wild-type (WT) littermates displayed circadian rhythms in wheel-running behavior. However, the overall wheel-running activities were significantly lower in CCM mice compared to WT over the course of 5 weeks, indicating that CCM mice either have lower baseline physical activities or they have lower physical adaptation abilities because daily wheel running, like routine exercise, induces physical adaptation over a period of time. Upon further biochemical analysis, it was revealed that the diurnal oscillations of phosphorylation states of several kinases and protein expression of the L-type voltage-gated calcium channel (L-VGCC) α1D subunit found in WT hearts were abolished in CCM hearts, indicating that in mammalian hearts, the daily oscillations of the activities of these kinases and L-VGCCs were downstream elements of the cardiac core oscillators. However, the phosphorylation of p38 MAPK exhibited robust diurnal rhythms in both WT and CCM hearts, indicating that cardiac p38 could be under the influence of the central clock through neurohormonal signals or be part of the circadian input pathway in cardiomyocytes. Taken together, these results indicate that the cardiac core oscillators have an impact in regulating circadian rhythmicities and cardiac function.

© 2011 The Author(s)

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