• bactericidal activity;
  • circadian rhythmicity;
  • macrophages;
  • mitochondrial dynamics


Biological functions show rhythmic fluctuations with 24-hr periodicity regulated by circadian proteins encoded by the so-called ‘clock’ genes. The absence or deregulation of circadian proteins in mice leads to metabolic disorders and in vitro models have shown that the synthesis of pro-inflammatory cytokines by macrophages follows a circadian rhythm so showing a link between circadian rhythmicity, metabolism and immunity. Recent evidence reveals that mitochondrial shape, position and size, collectively referred to as mitochondrial dynamics, are related to both cell metabolism and immune function. However, studies addressing the simultaneous crosstalk between circadian rhythm, mitochondrial dynamics and cell immune function are scarce. Here, by using an in vitro model of synchronized murine peritoneal macrophages, we present evidence that the mitochondrial dynamics and the mitochondrial membrane potential (∆ψm) follow a circadian rhythmic pattern. In addition, it is shown that the fusion of mitochondria along with high ∆ψm, indicative of high mitochondrial activity, precede the highest phagocytic and bactericidal activity of macrophages on Salmonella typhimurium. Taken together, our results suggest a timely coordination between circadian rhythmicity, mitochondrial dynamics, and the bactericidal capacity of macrophages.