Mammals have developed an endogenous circadian clock located in the SCN (suprachiasmatic nuclei) of the anterior hypothalamus that responds to the environmental light–dark cycle. Human homoeostatic systems have adapted to daily changes in a way that the body anticipates the sleep and activity periods. Similar clocks have been found in peripheral tissues, such as the liver, intestine and adipose tissue. Recently it has been found that the circadian clock regulates cellular and physiological functions in addition to the expression and/or activity of enzymes and hormones involved in metabolism. In turn, key metabolic enzymes and transcription activators interact with and affect the core clock mechanism. Animals with mutations in clock genes that disrupt cellular rhythmicity have provided evidence to the relationship between the circadian clock and metabolic homoeostasis. The present review will summarize recent findings concerning the relationship between metabolism and circadian rhythms.

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