Time-related dynamics of variation in core clock gene expression levels in tissues relevant to the immune system

Gianluigi Mazzoccoli, R. B. Sothern, A. Greco, V. Pazienza, M. Vinciguerra, S. Liu, Y. Cai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Immune parameters show rhythmic changes with a 24-h periodicity driven by an internal circadian timing system that relies on clock genes (CGs). CGs form interlocked transcription-translation feedback loops to generate and maintain 24-h mRNA and protein oscillations. In this study we evaluate and compare the profiles and the dynamics of variation of CG expression in peripheral blood, and two lymphoid tissues of mice. Expression levels of seven recognized key CGs (mBmal1, mClock, mPer1, mPer2, mCry1, mCry2, and Rev-erbα) were evaluated by quantitative RT- PCR in spleen, thymus and peripheral blood of C57BL/6 male mice housed on a 12-h light (L)-dark (D) cycle and sacrificed every 4 h for 24 h (3-4 mice/time point). We found a statistically significant time-effect in spleen (S), thymus (T) and blood (B) for the original values of expression level of mBmal1 (S), mClock (T, B), mPer1 (S, B), mPer2 (S), mCry1 (S), mCry2 (B) and mRev-Erbα (S, T, B) and for the fractional variation calculated between single time-point expression value of mBmal1 (B), mPer2 (T), mCry2 (B) and mRev-Erbα (S). A significant 24-h rhythm was validated for five CGs in blood (mClock, mPer1, mPer2, mCry2, mRev-Erbα), for four CGs in the spleen (mBmal1, mPer1, mPer2, mRev-Erbα), and for three CGs in the thymus (mClock, mPer2, mRev-Erbα). The original values of acrophases for mBmal1, mClock, mPer1, mPer2, mCry1 and mCry2 were very similar for spleen and thymus and advanced by several hours for peripheral blood compared to the lymphoid tissues, whereas the phases of mRev-Erbα were coincident for all three tissues. In conclusion, central and peripheral lymphoid tissues in the mouse show different sequences of activation of clock gene expression compared to peripheral blood. These differences may underlie the compartmental pattern of web functioning in the immune system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)869-879
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • Circadian rhythm
  • Clock gene
  • Immune system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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