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Henrik Oster

Endogenous circadian clocks adapt an organism’s physiology and behavior to predictable changes in the environment as a consequence of the Earth’s rotation around its axis. In mammals, circadian rhythms are the output of a ubiquitous network of cellular timers coordinated by a hypothalamic master pacemaker. Circadian clock function is closely connected to the stress response system which has evolved to ensure survival under less predictable situations of danger. Disruptions in both of these functions are highly prevalent in modern society and have been linked to pathologic alterations in metabolic setpoints, promoting overeating, obesity, and type-2 diabetes. This paper describes the different levels of interaction between the circadian clock and acute and chronic stress responses. It summarizes studies assessing clock-stress crosstalk in the context of metabolic homeostasis and outlines options to use this interaction for diagnostic and therapeutic measures targeting metabolic health and well-being in the highly chronodisruptive environment of modern 24-h globalized societies.

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Anthony H Tsang, Mariana Astiz, Maureen Friedrichs, and Henrik Oster

Endogenous circadian clocks regulate 24-h rhythms of behavior and physiology to align with external time. The endocrine system serves as a major clock output to regulate various biological processes. Recent findings suggest that some of the rhythmic hormones can also provide feedback to the circadian system at various levels, thus contributing to maintaining the robustness of endogenous rhythmicity. This delicate balance of clock–hormone interaction is vulnerable to modern lifestyle factors such as shiftwork or high-calorie diets, altering physiological set points. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on the communication between the circadian timing and endocrine systems, with a focus on adrenal glucocorticoids and metabolic peptide hormones. We explore the potential role of hormones as systemic feedback signals to adjust clock function and their relevance for the maintenance of physiological and metabolic circadian homeostasis.

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Anne-Marie Neumann, Cathleen Geissler, Violetta Pilorz, Iwona Olejniczak, Alfor G. Lewis, Randy J. Seeley, Orr Shomroni, Gabriela Salinas-Riester, Henriette Kirchner, and Henrik Oster

Bariatric surgery is still the most effective long-term weight-loss therapy. Recent data indicate that surgical outcomes may be affected by diurnal food intake patterns. In this study, we aimed to investigate how surgery-induced metabolic adaptations (i.e. weight loss) interact with circadian clock function. For that reason, vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) was performed in obese mice and rhythms in behavior, tissue rhythmicity, and white adipose tissue transcriptome were evaluated. VSG under constant darkness conditions led to a maximum weight loss of 18 % compared to a loss of 3 % after sham surgery. Post-surgical weight development was characterized by two distinct intervals of catabolic and subsequent anabolic metabolic state. Locomotor activity was not affected. However, VSG significantly increased active phase meal frequency in the anabolic state. No significant effects on clock gene rhythmicity were detected in adrenal and white adipose tissue (WAT) explant cultures. Transcriptome rhythm analyses of subcutaneous WAT revealed a reduction of cycling genes after VSG (sham: 2,493 vs. VSG: 1,013) independent of sustained rhythms in core clock gene expression. This may be a consequence of weight loss-induced morphological reconstruction of WAT that overwrites the direct influence of the local clock machinery on the transcriptome. However, VSG altered rhythmic transcriptional regulation of WAT lipid metabolism pathways. Thus, our data suggest a reorganization of diurnal metabolic rhythms after VSG downstream of the molecular clock machinery.