In mammals, circadian oscillators not only exist in specialized neurons of the suprachiasmatic nucleus, but in almost all peripheral cell types. These oscillators are operative even in established fibroblast cell lines, such as Rat-1 cells or NIH3T3 cells, and in primary fibroblasts from mouse embryos or adult animals. This can be demonstrated by treating such cells for a short time period with high concentrations of serum or chemicals that activate a large number of known signaling pathways. The possibility of studying circadian rhythms in cultured cells should facilitate the biochemical and genetic dissection of the circadian clockwork and should promote the discovery of new clock components.
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