Background: Diurnal variations in the incidence of events such as heart attack and stroke suggest a role for circadian rhythms in the etiology of cardiovascular disease. The aim of this study was to assess the influence of the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) circadian clock on cardiovascular function. Methodology/Principal Findings: Heart rate (HR), blood pressure (BP) and locomotor activity (LA) were measured in circadian mutant (Vipr2-/-) mice and wild type littermates, using implanted radio-telemetry devices. Sleep and wakefulness were studied in similar mice implanted with electroencephalograph (EEG) electrodes. There was less diurnal variation in the frequency and duration of bouts of rest/activity and sleep/wake in Vipr2-/- mice than in wild type (WT) and short ''ultradian'' episodes of arousal were more prominent, especially in constant conditions (DD). Activity was an important determinant of circadian variation in BP and HR in animals of both genotypes; altered timing of episodes of activity and rest (as well as sleep and wakefulness) across the day accounted for most of the difference between Vipr2-/- mice and WT. However, there was also a modest circadian rhythm of resting HR and BP that was independent of LA. Conclusions/Significance: If appropriate methods of analysis are used that take into account sleep and locomotor activity level, mice are a good model for understanding the contribution of circadian timing to cardiovascular function. Future studies of the influence of sleep and wakefulness on cardiovascular physiology may help to explain accumulating evidence linking disrupted sleep with cardiovascular disease in man.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)