Circadian regulation of membrane physiology in neural oscillators throughout the brain

Academic Article


  • Twenty-four-hour rhythmicity in physiology and behavior are driven by changes in neurophysiological activity that vary across the light–dark and rest-activity cycle. Although this neural code is most prominent in neurons of the primary circadian pacemaker in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus, there are many other regions in the brain where region-specific function and behavioral rhythmicity may be encoded by changes in electrical properties of those neurons. In this review, we explore the existing evidence for molecular clocks and/or neurophysiological rhythms (i.e., 24 hr) in brain regions outside the SCN. In addition, we highlight the brain regions that are ripe for future investigation into the critical role of circadian rhythmicity for local oscillators. For example, the cerebellum expresses rhythmicity in over 2,000 gene transcripts, and yet we know very little about how circadian regulation drives 24-hr changes in the neural coding responsible for motor coordination. Finally, we conclude with a discussion of how our understanding of circadian regulation of electrical properties may yield insight into disease mechanisms which may lead to novel chronotherapeutic strategies in the future.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Paul JR; Davis JA; Goode LK; Becker BK; Fusilier A; Meador-Woodruff A; Gamble KL
  • Start Page

  • 109
  • End Page

  • 138
  • Volume

  • 51
  • Issue

  • 1