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Therapeutics on the clock: circadian medicine in the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-08-17, 13:05 authored by Haritha JacobHaritha Jacob, Annie CurtisAnnie Curtis, Cathal KearneyCathal Kearney
The circadian clock is a collection of endogenous oscillators with a periodicity of ~ 24 h. Recently, our understanding of circadian rhythms and their regulation at genomic and physiologic scales has grown significantly. Knowledge of the circadian influence on biological processes has provided new possibilities for novel pharmacological strategies. Directly targeting the biological clock or its downstream targets, and/or using timing as a variable in drug therapy are now important pharmacological considerations. The circadian machinery mediates many aspects of the inflammatory response and, reciprocally, an inflammatory environment can disrupt circadian rhythms. Therefore, intense interest exists in leveraging circadian biology as a means to treat chronic inflammatory diseases such as sepsis, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and cardiovascular disease, which all display some type of circadian signature. The purpose of this review is to evaluate the crosstalk between circadian rhythms, inflammatory diseases, and their pharmacological treatment. Evidence suggests that carefully rationalized application of chronotherapy strategies – alone or in combination with small molecule modulators of circadian clock components – can improve efficacy and reduce toxicity, thus warranting further investigation and use.


Science Foundation Ireland funded Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research Center (17/RC-PhD/3477)

Career Development Award (17/CDA/4688)

Irish Research Council Laureate Award (IRCLA/2017/110)



The original article is available at

Published Citation

Jacob H, Curtis AM, Kearney CJ. Therapeutics on the clock: circadian medicine in the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases. Biochem Pharmacol. 2020;182:114254.

Publication Date

1 October 2020

PubMed ID



  • Amber (Advanced Material & Bioengineering Research) Centre
  • Anatomy and Regenerative Medicine
  • School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences
  • Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG)

Research Area

  • Vascular Biology
  • Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine
  • Immunity, Infection and Inflammation


Elsevier BV


  • Accepted Version (Postprint)