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Time-Restricted Feeding Prevents Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome in Mice Lacking a Circadian Clock


Increased susceptibility of circadian clock mutant mice to metabolic diseases has led to the idea that a molecular clock is necessary for metabolic homeostasis. However, these mice often lack a normal feeding-fasting cycle. We tested whether time-restricted feeding (TRF) could prevent obesity and metabolic syndrome in whole-body Cry1;Cry2 and in liver-specific Bmal1 and Rev-erbα/β knockout mice. When provided access to food ad libitum, these mice rapidly gained weight and showed genotype-specific metabolic defects. However, when fed the same diet under TRF (food access restricted to 10 hr during the dark phase) they were protected from excessive weight gain and metabolic diseases. Transcriptome and metabolome analyses showed that TRF reduced the accumulation of hepatic lipids and enhanced cellular defenses against metabolic stress. These results suggest that the circadian clock maintains metabolic homeostasis by sustaining daily rhythms in feeding and fasting and by maintaining balance between nutrient and cellular stress responses.