Circadian disruption dysregulates lung gene expression associated with inflammatory lung injury

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Rationale: Circadian systems drive the expression of multiple genes in nearly all cells and coordinate cellular-, tissue-, and system-level processes that are critical to innate immunity regulation. Objective: We examined the effects of circadian rhythm disorganization, produced by light shift exposure, on innate immunity-mediated inflammatory lung responses including vascular permeability and gene expression in a C57BL/6J murine model of inflammatory lung injury. Methods: A total of 32 C57BL/6J mice were assigned to circadian phase shifting (CPS) with intratracheal phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), CPS with intratracheal lipopolysaccharide (LPS), control (normal lighting) condition with intratracheal PBS, and control condition with intratracheal LPS. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) protein, cell counts, tissue immunostaining, and differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were measured in lung tissues at 2 and 10 weeks. Measurements and results: In mice exposed to both CPS and intratracheal LPS, both BAL protein and cell counts were increased at both 2 and 10 weeks compared to mice exposed to LPS alone. Multiple DEGs were identified in CPS–LPS-exposed lung tissues compared to LPS alone and were involved in transcriptional pathways associated with circadian rhythm disruption, regulation of lung permeability, inflammation with Rap1 signaling, and regulation of actin cytoskeleton. The most dysregulated pathways included myosin light chain kinase, MAP kinase, profilin 2, fibroblast growth factor receptor, integrin b4, and p21-activated kinase. Conclusion: Circadian rhythm disruption results in exacerbated immune response and dysregulated expression of cytoskeletal genes involved in the regulation of epithelial and vascular barrier integrity—the mechanistic underpinnings of acute lung injury. Further studies need to explore circadian disorganization as a druggable target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1348181
JournalFrontiers in immunology
StatePublished - 2024


  • LPS
  • circadian rhythm
  • cytoskeleton
  • gene expression
  • lung permeability
  • pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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