Circadian Rhythms in Immunity

  • Stephen N. WaggonerEmail author
Basic and Applied Science (I Lewkowich, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Basic and Applied Science


Purpose of Review

This review is focused on the existing evidence for circadian control of innate and adaptive immune responses to provide a framework for evaluating the contributions of diurnal rhythms to control of infections and pathogenesis of disease.

Recent Findings

Circadian rhythms driven by cell-autonomous biological clocks are central to innate and adaptive immune responses against microbial pathogens. Research during the past few years has uncovered circadian circuits governing leukocyte migration between tissues, the magnitude of mucosal inflammation, the types of cytokines produced, and the severity of immune diseases. Other studies revealed how disruption of the circadian clock impairs immune function or how microbial products alter clock machinery.


Revelations concerning the widespread impact of the circadian clock on immunity and homeostasis highlight how the timing of inflammatory challenges can dictate pathological outcomes and how the timing of therapeutic interventions likely determines clinical efficacy. An improved understanding of circadian circuits controlling immune function will facilitate advances in circadian immunotherapy.


Clock Migration Allergy Asthma Microbiota Infection 



I wish to thank Lauren Francey and John Hogenesch for reading the manuscript and providing helpful feedback.

Funding Information

The author is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants DA038017, AI148080, and AR073228, as well as by the Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares no conflicts of interest relevant to this manuscript.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Cincinnati College of MedicineCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Center for Autoimmune Genomics and EtiologyCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA

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