The circadian clock regulates many physiological functions including physical activity and feeding patterns. In addition, scheduled exercise and feeding themselves can affect the circadian clock. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between physical/feeding activity and expression of clock genes in hair follicle cells in older adults. Twenty adult men (age, 68 ± 7 years, mean ± SE) were examined in this cross-sectional study. Prior to hair follicle cell collection, the participants were asked to wear a uniaxial accelerometer for one week. The timings of breakfast, lunch, and dinner were also recorded. Hair follicle cells were then collected over a 24 h period at 4 h intervals. The amplitude of PER3 expression was positively correlated with moderate and vigorous physical activity (r = 0.582, p = 0.007) and peak oxygen uptake (r = 0.481, p = 0.032), but these correlations were not observed for NR1D1 or NR1D2. No association was noted between meal times and the amplitude or the acrophase for any of these three clock genes. These findings suggest that rhythmic expression of the circadian clock gene PER3 is associated with the amount of daily physical activity and physical fitness in older adults.
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