Skip navigation

Circadian entrainment and its role in depression: a mechanistic review

Circadian entrainment and its role in depression: a mechanistic review

Lall, G.S., Atkinson, L.A., Corlett, S.A., Broadbridge, P.J. and Bonsall, D.R. (2012) Circadian entrainment and its role in depression: a mechanistic review. Journal of Neural Transmission, 119 (10). pp. 1085-1096. ISSN 0300-9564 (Print), 1435-1463 (Online) (doi:

Full text not available from this repository.


The natural rotation of the earth generates an environmental day–night cycle that repeats every 24 h. This daily transition from dawn to dusk provides one of the most important time cues to which the majority of organisms synchronise their activity. Under these conditions, natural light, a photic stimulus, provides the principal entraining cue. In mammals, an endogenous circadian pacemaker located within the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus acts as a coordinating centre to align physiological activity with the environmental light–dark cycle. However, the SCN also receives regulatory input from a number of behavioural, non-photic, cues such as physical activity, social interactions and feeding routines. The unique ability of the SCN to integrate both photic and non-photic cues allows it to generate a rhythm that is tailored to the individual and entrained to the environment. Here, we review the key neurotransmitter systems involved in both photic and non-photic transmission to the SCN and their interactions that assist in generating an entrained output rhythm. We also consider the impact on health of a desynchronised circadian system with a focus on depressive affective disorders and current therapies aimed at manipulating the relationship between photic and non-photic SCN regulators.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: circadian, entrainment, depression, photic, non-photic SAD
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RS Pharmacy and materia medica
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Medway School of Pharmacy
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2015 17:19

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item