Circadian clocks align behavioral and biochemical processes with the day/night cycle. Nearly all vertebrate cells possess self-sustained clocks that couple endogenous rhythms with changes in cellular environment. Genetic disruption of clock genes in mice perturbs metabolic functions of specific tissues at distinct phases of the sleep/wake cycle. Circadian desynchrony, a characteristic of shift work and sleep disruption in humans, also leads to metabolic pathologies. Here, we review advances in understanding the interrelationship among circadian disruption, sleep deprivation, obesity, and diabetes and implications for rational therapeutics for these conditions.
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