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Chronobiol Int. 2012 Aug;29(7):799-809. doi: 10.3109/07420528.2012.699127.

Low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet affects rhythmic expression of gluconeogenic regulatory and circadian clock genes in mouse peripheral tissues.

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  • 1Biological Clock Research Group, Biomedical Research Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.


Recent studies have demonstrated that metabolic changes in mammals induce feedback regulation of the circadian clock. The present study evaluates the effects of a low-carbohydrate high-protein diet (HPD) on circadian behavior and peripheral circadian clocks in mice. Circadian rhythms of locomotor activity and core body temperature remained normal in mice fed with the HPD diet (HPD mice), suggesting that it did not affect the central clock in the hypothalamus. Two weeks of HPD feeding induced mild hypoglycemia without affecting body weight, although these mice consumed more calories than mice fed with a normal diet (ND mice). Plasma insulin levels were increased during the inactive phase in HPD mice, but increased twice, beginning and end of the active phase, in ND mice. Expression levels of the key gluconeogenic regulatory genes PEPCK and G6Pase were significantly induced in the liver and kidneys of HPD mice. The HPD appeared to induce peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) activation, since mRNA expression levels of PPARα and its typical target genes, such as PDK4 and Cyp4A10, were significantly increased in the liver and kidneys. Circadian mRNA expression of clock genes, such as BMAL1, Cry1, NPAS2, and Rev-erbα, but not Per2, was significantly phase-advanced, and mean expression levels of BMAL1 and Cry1 mRNAs were significantly elevated, in the liver and kidneys of HPD mice. These findings suggest that a HPD not only affects glucose homeostasis, but that it also advances the molecular circadian clock in peripheral tissues.

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