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It is characteristic of asthma that symptoms worsen overnight, particularly in the early hours of the morning. Nocturnal symptoms in asthma are common and are an important indicator for escalation of treatment. An extensive body of research has demonstrated that nocturnal symptoms of cough and dyspnea are accompanied by circadian variations in airway inflammation and physiologic variables, including airflow limitation and airways hyper-responsiveness. The molecular apparatus that underpins circadian variations, controlled by so called 'clock' genes, has recently been characterised. Clock genes control circadian rhythms both centrally, in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the brain and peripherally, within every organ of the body. Here, we will discuss how clock genes regulate circadian rhythms. We will focus particularly on the peripheral lung clock and the peripheral immune clock and discuss how these might relate to both the pathogenesis and treatment of asthma.

Original publication

DOI

10.1136/thoraxjnl-2013-203482

Type

Journal article

Journal

Thorax

Publication Date

01/2014

Volume

69

Pages

90 - 92

Keywords

Asthma, Asthma Mechanisms, ARNTL Transcription Factors, Anti-Asthmatic Agents, Asthma, Bronchoscopy, CLOCK Proteins, Circadian Clocks, Drug Chronotherapy, Humans, Lung