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Why Lungs Keep Time: Circadian Rhythms and Lung Immunity

Authors
  • Nosal, Charles
  • Ehlers, Anna
  • Haspel, Jeffrey A.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Annual Review of Physiology
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Feb 10, 2020
Volume
82
Pages
391–412
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-physiol-021119-034602
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
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Abstract

Circadian rhythms are daily cycles in biological function that are ubiquitous in nature. Understood as a means for organisms to anticipate daily environmental changes, circadian rhythms are also important for orchestrating complex biological processes such as immunity. Nowhere is this more evident than in the respiratory system, where circadian rhythms in inflammatory lung disease have been appreciated since ancient times. In this focused review we examine how emerging research on circadian rhythms is being applied to the study of fundamental lung biology and respiratory disease. We begin with a general introduction to circadian rhythms and the molecular circadian clock that underpins them. We then focus on emerging data tying circadian clock function to immunologic activities within the respiratory system. We conclude by considering outstanding questions about biological timing in the lung and how a better command of chronobiology could inform our understanding of complex lung diseases.

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