Circadian rhythms in endocrinology and metabolism

Circadian rhythms are regular, daily cycles of biological processes, including predictable variations in the circulating levels of hormones. The circadian system, the function of which is controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus, is integral to a multitude of endocrine and neuroendocrine processes, including metabolism, energy balance and appetite control. Furthermore, the circadian system is implicated in a number of diseases and disruption of the circadian system (known as circadian dysrhythmia), which can result from modern lifestyle changes such as shift work, is associated with an increasing health burden globally. For instance, obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus, two leading causes of disease and death worldwide, have been linked to circadian dysrhythmia. In this article series, Nature Reviews Endocrinology examines the mechanisms linking circadian rhythms with endocrinology and metabolism, and the implications of circadian dysrhythmia for diseases of the endocrine system.

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