The kidney harbors one of the strongest circadian clocks in the body. Kidney failure has long been known to cause circadian sleep disturbances. Using an adenine-induced model of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in mice, we probe the possibility that such sleep disturbances originate from aberrant circadian rhythms in kidney. Under the CKD condition, mice developed unstable behavioral circadian rhythms. When observed in isolation in vitro, the pacing of the master clock, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), remained uncompromised, while the kidney clock became a less robust circadian oscillator with a longer period. We find this analogous to the silencing of a strong slave clock in the brain, the choroid plexus, which alters the pacing of the SCN. We propose that the kidney also contributes to overall circadian timekeeping at the whole-body level, through bottom-up feedback in the hierarchical structure of the mammalian circadian clocks.
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