Proximate mechanisms driving circadian control of neuroendocrine function: Lessons from the young and old

W. P Williams, E. M Gibson, C Wang, S Tjho, N Khattar, G. E Bentley, K Tsutsui and L. J. Kriegsfeld

Integrative and Comparative Biology, 2009, 49(5), 519-537. DOI: 10.1093/icb/icp041


Circadian rhythms impact a variety of behavioral and physiological functions contributing to longevity and successful reproduction. In their natural environments, individuals of a species are faced with a multitude of challenges and the coordination of internal processes and behavior with external pressures has been hypothesized to be an important target of natural selection. Several lines of evidence from cyanobacteria, Drosophila, and plants provide strong support for an important role of the circadian clock in survival and reproductive success. Similarly in mammals, disruptions in circadian function markedly impact reproduction and lifespan. The present review discusses research outlining the proximate and ultimate mechanisms responsible for the central and peripheral control of the reproductive axis. Because precise temporal coordination of the endocrine system is particularly crucial for reproduction by females, the present overview focuses on the role of circadian timing in this sex.

ASCI-ID: 1086-91