Developing circadian rhythmicity

Scott A. Rivkees, Haiping Hao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Circadian rhythms are endogenously generated rhythms with a period length of about 24-hours. Evidence gathered over the past decade indicates that the circadian timing system develops prenatally, and the suprachiasmatic nuclei, the site of a circadian clock, is present by midgestation in human and nonhuman primates. Recent evidence also shows that the circadian system of primate infants is responsive to light at very premature stages and that low intensity lighting can regulate the developing clock. After birth, there is progressive maturation of the circadian system outputs, with pronounced rhythms in sleep-wake and hormone secretion generally developing after 2 months of age. With the continued elucidation of circadian system development and influences on human physiology and illness, it is anticipated that consideration of circadian biology will become an increasingly important component of neonatal care. Copyright (C) 2000 by W.B. Saunders Company.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-242
Number of pages11
JournalSeminars in Perinatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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