Mechanical loading and hyperosmolarity as a daily resetting cue for skeletal circadian clocks

Michal Dudek, Dharshika R.J. Pathiranage, Beatriz Bano-Otalora, Anna Paszek, Natalie Rogers, Cátia F. Gonçalves, Craig Lawless, Dong Wang, Zhuojing Luo, Liu Yang, Farshid Guilak, Judith A. Hoyland, Qing Jun Meng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Daily rhythms in mammalian behaviour and physiology are generated by a multi-oscillator circadian system entrained through environmental cues (e.g. light and feeding). The presence of tissue niche-dependent physiological time cues has been proposed, allowing tissues the ability of circadian phase adjustment based on local signals. However, to date, such stimuli have remained elusive. Here we show that daily patterns of mechanical loading and associated osmotic challenge within physiological ranges reset circadian clock phase and amplitude in cartilage and intervertebral disc tissues in vivo and in tissue explant cultures. Hyperosmolarity (but not hypo-osmolarity) resets clocks in young and ageing skeletal tissues and induce genome-wide expression of rhythmic genes in cells. Mechanistically, RNAseq and biochemical analysis revealed the PLD2-mTORC2-AKT-GSK3β axis as a convergent pathway for both in vivo loading and hyperosmolarity-induced clock changes. These results reveal diurnal patterns of mechanical loading and consequent daily oscillations in osmolarity as a bona fide tissue niche-specific time cue to maintain skeletal circadian rhythms in sync.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7237
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


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