Circadian Rhythms

One clock for you and your microbes

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Science  14 Nov 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6211, pp. 823
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6211.823-a
PHOTO: © BLEND IMAGES/ALAMY

Disrupting our circadian rhythms increases the risk of developing diabetes, obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, but scientists do not fully understand why. Thaiss et al. now report that conditions that cause jet lag change the composition and activities of gut microbes in mice, which can lead to metabolic disease. Gut microbe composition no longer fluctuated diurnally in mice with disrupted circadian rhythms, but normal rhythmic feeding or the transplantation of gut microbes from normal mice restored this oscillation. Normal mice that received gut microbial transplants from jet-lagged humans or mice that experienced a change in their day-night schedule gained weight and developed symptoms of metabolic disease.

Cell 159, 514 (2014).

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