The circadian clock regulates rhythms in gene transcription that have a profound impact on cellular function, behavior, and disease. Circadian dysfunction is a symptom of aging and neurodegenerative diseases, and recent studies suggest a bidirectional relationship between impaired clock function and neurodegeneration. Glial cells possess functional circadian clocks which may serve to control glial responses to daily oscillations in brain activity, cellular stress, and metabolism. Astrocytes directly support brain function through synaptic interactions, neuronal metabolic support, neuroinflammatory regulation, and control of neurovascular coupling at blood and CSF barriers. Emerging evidence suggests that the astrocyte circadian clock may be involved in many of these processes, and that clock disruption could influence neurodegeneration by disrupting several aspects of astrocyte function. Here we review the literature surrounding circadian control of astrocyte function in health and disease, and discuss the potential implications of astrocyte clocks for neurodegeneration.
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Circadian rhythms