Background & Aims: The circadian clock drives daily rhythms in behavior and physiology. A recent study suggests that intestinal permeability is also under control of the circadian clock. However, the precise mechanisms remain largely unknown. Because intestinal permeability depends on tight junction (TJ) that regulates the epithelial paracellular pathway, this study investigated whether the circadian clock regulates the expression levels of TJ proteins in the intestine. Methods: The expression levels of TJ proteins in the large intestinal epithelium and colonic permeability were analyzed every 4, 6, or 12 hours between wild-type mice and mice with a mutation of a key clock gene Period2 (Per2; mPer2m/m). In addition, the susceptibility to dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis was compared between wild-type mice and mPer2m/m mice. Results: The mRNA and protein expression levels of Occludin and Claudin-1 exhibited daily variations in the colonic epithelium in wild-type mice, whereas they were constitutively high in mPer2m/m mice. Colonic permeability in wild-type mice exhibited daily variations, which was inversely associated with the expression levels of Occludin and Claudin-1 proteins, whereas it was constitutively low in mPer2m/m mice. mPer2m/m mice were more resistant to the colonic injury induced by DSS than wild-type mice. Conclusions: Occludin and Claudin-1 expressions in the large intestine are under the circadian control, which is associated with temporal regulation of colonic permeability and also susceptibility to colitis.
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