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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2010 Nov;299(5):G1045-53. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00330.2010. Epub 2010 Sep 16.

Combination of starvation interval and food volume determines the phase of liver circadian rhythm in Per2::Luc knock-in mice under two meals per day feeding.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, School of Advanced Science and Engineering, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan.


Although the circadian liver clock is entrained by the feeding cycle, factors such as food volume and starvation interval are poorly understood. Per2::Luc knock-in mice were given two meals per day with different food volume sizes and/or with different intervals of starvation between two mealtimes with the total food volume per day fixed at 3.6 g (80 food pellets, ∼75% of free feeding) per mouse. The bioluminescence rhythm in the liver produced a unimodal peak but not bimodal peak under the regimen of two meals per day over 14-15 days. Peak Per2 expression occurred concurrently with the mealtime of the larger food volume, when the first and second meal were given as different food volume ratios under a 12 h feeding interval. When an equal volume of food was given under different starvation interval (8 h:16 h), the peak of the Per2 rhythm was close to peak by mealtime after long starvation (16 h). When food volumes for each mealtime were changed under 8 h:16 h, the peak rhythm was influenced by combined factors of food volume and starvation interval. Food intake after the 16-h starvation caused a significant increase in liver Per2, Dec1, and Bmal1 gene expression compared with food intake after the 8-h starvation with 8 h:16 h feeding intervals. In conclusion, the present results clearly demonstrate that food-induced entrainment of the liver clock is dependent on both food volume and the starvation interval between two meals. Therefore, normal feeding habits may help to maintain normal clock function in the liver organ.

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