Neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms of circadian rhythm disruption in bipolar disorder: A critical multi‐disciplinary literature review and agenda for future research from the ISBD task force on chronobiology Journal Articles uri icon

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  • AbstractAimSymptoms of bipolar disorder (BD) include changes in mood, activity, energy, sleep, and appetite. Since many of these processes are regulated by circadian function, circadian rhythm disturbance has been examined as a biological feature underlying BD. The International Society for Bipolar Disorders Chronobiology Task Force (CTF) was commissioned to review evidence for neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms pertinent to BD.MethodDrawing upon expertise in animal models, biomarkers, physiology, and behavior, CTF analyzed the relevant cross‐disciplinary literature to precisely frame the discussion around circadian rhythm disruption in BD, highlight key findings, and for the first time integrate findings across levels of analysis to develop an internally consistent, coherent theoretical framework.ResultsEvidence from multiple sources implicates the circadian system in mood regulation, with corresponding associations with BD diagnoses and mood‐related traits reported across genetic, cellular, physiological, and behavioral domains. However, circadian disruption does not appear to be specific to BD and is present across a variety of high‐risk, prodromal, and syndromic psychiatric disorders. Substantial variability and ambiguity among the definitions, concepts and assumptions underlying the research have limited replication and the emergence of consensus findings.ConclusionsFuture research in circadian rhythms and its role in BD is warranted. Well‐powered studies that carefully define associations between BD‐related and chronobiologically‐related constructs, and integrate across levels of analysis will be most illuminating.


  • McCarthy, Michael J
  • Gottlieb, John F
  • Gonzalez, Robert
  • McClung, Colleen A
  • Alloy, Lauren B
  • Cain, Sean
  • Dulcis, Davide
  • Etain, Bruno
  • Frey, Benicio
  • Garbazza, Corrado
  • Ketchesin, Kyle D
  • Landgraf, Dominic
  • Lee, Heon‐Jeong
  • Marie‐Claire, Cynthia
  • Nusslock, Robin
  • Porcu, Alessandra
  • Porter, Richard
  • Ritter, Philipp
  • Scott, Jan
  • Smith, Daniel
  • Swartz, Holly A
  • Murray, Greg

publication date

  • May 2022