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Institut des Neurosciences Cellulaires et Intégratives
Institute of Cellular and Integrative Neurosciences
Neurobiology of Rhythms
Team "Circadian clocks & metabolism"

Functional links between the circadian system and structures regulating arousal and energy metabolism

A clear phase opposition of food intake and sleep/wake cycle distinguishes diurnal and nocturnal species. Nevertheless, neither the anatomical substrate, nor the cellular/molecular mechanisms that explain this different temporal organisation are currently well characterised. This specificity may be due to the way target structures integrate circadian signals and to different feedback from internal signals to the master clock in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN).
In this context, we compare the temporal organisation of neurochemical (i.e., serotonergic, noradrenergic, orexinergic) systems between nocturnal and diurnal rodents. These systems, controlled by the suprachiasmatic clock and/or that feedback on it, promote wakefulness and regulate metabolism.


Circadian desynchronisation induced, for instance, by shift work or chronic jet-lag has been associated with increased metabolic risks (overweight, high fasting glucose) and sleep disturbances, leading to the concept of "chronobesity".
Thus, we analyse the consequences of alterations in arousal (sleep deprivation, behavioral awakening or forced exercise) and metabolism (unbalanced diet, oxidative stress) as well as the effects of chronic jet-lag on the suprachiasmatic clock and the secondary clocks in diurnal rodents (such as Arvicanthis, used as human-like chronobiological models) and nocturnal species (rats or transgenic mice).



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