Circadian rhythms, rhythms of about 24 h in various physiological functions, are getting extensively characterized at the molecular level. The generation of circadian rhythms is acknowledged to originate from oscillations in the expression of several clock genes as well as in the regulation of their protein products. While the general entrainment of organisms to the light-dark cycle of the environment is mainly achieved through the master clock of the suprachiasmatic nucleus in mammals, the molecular clockworks is functional in an incredible number of organs and tissues. The molecular components of the circadian system have been found to be essential for a diversity of basic and homeostatic systems ranging from the control of cell cycle, the regulation of cardiac and metabolic function, to the fine-tuning of sleep and mental health. The present review will focus on the involvement of clock genes in human health and diseases.
clock genes; peripheral clocks; circadian rhythms; human; sleep disorders; psychiatric disorders; cancer; metabolism
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