Circadian rhythm of adrenal glucocorticoid: Its regulation and clinical implications

Sooyoung Chung, Gi Hoon Son, Kyungjin Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

199 Citations (Scopus)


Glucocorticoid (GC) is an adrenal steroid hormone that controls a variety of physiological processes such as metabolism, immune response, cardiovascular activity, and brain function. In addition to GC induction in response to stress, even in relatively undisturbed states its circulating level is subjected to a robust daily variation with a peak around the onset of the active period of the day. It has long been believed that the synthesis and secretion of GC are primarily regulated by the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) neuroendocrine axis. However, recent chronobiological research strongly supports the idea that multiple regulatory mechanisms along with the classical HPA neuroendocrine axis underlie the diurnal rhythm of circulating GC. Most notably, recent studies demonstrate that the molecular circadian clockwork is heavily involved in the daily GC rhythm at multiple levels. The daily GC rhythm is implicated in various human diseases accompanied by abnormal GC levels. Patients with such diseases frequently show a blunted GC rhythmicity and, more importantly, circadian rhythm-related symptoms. In this review, we focus on recent advances in the understanding of the circadian regulation of adrenal GC and its implications in human health and disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-591
Number of pages11
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011 May
Externally publishedYes


  • Adrenal gland
  • Biological clock
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Glucocorticoid
  • HPA axis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Circadian rhythm of adrenal glucocorticoid: Its regulation and clinical implications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this