The role of the cardiomyocyte circadian clocks in ion channel regulation and cardiac electrophysiology

Elizabeth A. Schroder, Makoto Ono, Sidney R. Johnson, Ezekiel R. Rozmus, Don E. Burgess, Karyn A. Esser, Brian P. Delisle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Daily variations in cardiac electrophysiology and the incidence for different types of arrhythmias reflect ≈24 h changes in the environment, behaviour and internal circadian rhythms. This article focuses on studies that use animal models to separate the impact that circadian rhythms, as well as changes in the environment and behaviour, have on 24 h rhythms in heart rate and ventricular repolarization. Circadian rhythms are initiated at the cellular level by circadian clocks, transcription–translation feedback loops that cycle with a periodicity of 24 h. Several studies now show that the circadian clock in cardiomyocytes regulates the expression of cardiac ion channels by multiple mechanisms; underlies time-of-day changes in sinoatrial node excitability/intrinsic heart rate; and limits the duration of the ventricular action potential waveform. However, the 24 h rhythms in heart rate and ventricular repolarization are primarily driven by autonomic signalling. A functional role for the cardiomyocyte circadian clock appears to buffer the heart against perturbations. For example, the cardiomyocyte circadian clock limits QT-interval prolongation (especially at slower heart rates), and it may facilitate the realignment of the 24 h rhythm in heart rate to abrupt changes in the light cycle. Additional studies show that modifying rhythmic behaviours (including feeding behaviour) can dramatically impact the 24 h rhythms in heart rate and ventricular repolarization. If these mechanisms are conserved, these studies suggest that targeting endogenous circadian mechanisms in the heart, as well as modifying the timing of certain rhythmic behaviours, could emerge as therapeutic strategies to support heart function against perturbations and regulate 24 h rhythms in cardiac electrophysiology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2037-2048
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number9
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Heart Lung and Blood Institute grants R01HL153042 and R01HL141343.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. The Journal of Physiology © 2022 The Physiological Society.


  • autonomic nervous system
  • cardiac electrophysiology
  • circadian clock
  • circadian rhythm
  • ion channels
  • suprachiasmatic nucleus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of the cardiomyocyte circadian clocks in ion channel regulation and cardiac electrophysiology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this