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J Biol Rhythms. 2007 Jun;22(3):211-9.

Modeling the behavior of coupled cellular circadian oscillators in the suprachiasmatic nucleus.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01655, USA.


The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the hypothalamus is the site of the master circadian clock in mammals, a complex tissue composed of multiple, coupled, single-cell circadian oscillators. Mathematical modeling is now providing insights on how individual SCN cells might interact and assemble to create an integrated pacemaker that governs the circadian behavior of whole animals. In this article, we will discuss the neurobiological constraints for modeling SCN behavior, system precision, implications of cellular heterogeneity, and analysis of heterogeneously coupled oscillator networks. Mathematical approaches will be critical for better understanding intercellular interactions within the SCN.

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