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Physiol Behav. 2017 Mar 15;171:165-174. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2016.12.019. Epub 2016 Dec 18.

Circadian rhythms accelerate wound healing in female Siberian hamsters.

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Department of Psychology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Psychology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
Department of Psychology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA; Committee on Neurobiology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Circadian rhythms (CRs) provide temporal regulation and coordination of numerous physiological traits, including immune function. CRs in multiple aspects of immune function are impaired in rodents that have been rendered circadian-arrhythmic through various methods. In Siberian hamsters, circadian arrhythmia can be induced by disruptive light treatments (DPS). Here we examined CRs in wound healing, and the effects of circadian disruption on wound healing in DPS-arrhythmic hamsters. Circadian entrained/rhythmic (RHYTH) and behaviorally-arrhythmic (ARR) female hamsters were administered a cutaneous wound either 3h after light onset (ZT03) or 2h after dark onset (ZT18); wound size was quantified daily using image analyses. Among RHYTH hamsters, ZT03 wounds healed faster than ZT18 wounds, whereas in ARR hamsters, circadian phase did not affect wound healing. In addition, wounds healed slower in ARR hamsters. The results document a clear CR in wound healing, and indicate that the mere presence of organismal circadian organization enhances this aspect of immune function. Faster wound healing in CR-competent hamsters may be mediated by CR-driven coordination of the temporal order of mechanisms (inflammation, leukocyte trafficking, tissue remodeling) underlying cutaneous wound healing.


Biological rhythms; Circadian disruption; Injury; Innate immune function; Skin

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