In mammals, daily physiological events are precisely regulated by an internal circadian clock system. An important function of this system is to readjust the phase of the clock daily. In Japan, traditional herb medicines, so-called crude drugs (Shoyaku), are widely used for many diseases, and some are reported to affect circadian clock impairment, suggesting that some of them might have an ability to modify clock gene expression rhythms. Therefore, from selected 40 crude drugs, finding candidates that control the circadian clock phases was the first purpose of this study. As there are several crude drugs used for liver- and/or kidney-related diseases, the second aim of the present study was to find some crude drugs affecting liver/kidney circadian clock in vivo. To assess phase changes in the daily circadian rhythm, bioluminescence from the core clock gene product Period 2 was continuously monitored in mouse embryonic fibroblasts in vitro and in some peripheral tissues (kidney, liver, and submandibular gland) of PERIOD2::LUCIFERASE knock-in mice in vivo. In our screening, Polyporus and Bupleuri radix were found to be good candidates to effectively manipulate the peripheral circadian clock phase acutely, with stimulation time-of-day dependency in vitro as well as in vivo. Interestingly, Polyporus and Bupleuri radix are traditional herb medicines use for treating edema and promoting diuresis, and for chronic hepatitis, respectively. These crude drugs may be therefore good modulators of the circadian peripheral clocks including liver and kidney, and circadian clock genes become new molecular targets for these crude drugs.
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