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Background/Objectives:Humans carrying the genetic risk variant C at the circadian CLOCK (Circadian Locomotor Output Cycles Kaput) 3111T/C have been shown to have more difficulties to achieve desired weight loss than TT carriers. We tested the hypothesis that the daily rhythm of autonomic nervous function differs in CLOCK 3111C carriers, leading to reduced effectiveness in weight control.Subjects/Methods:We recruited 40 overweight/obese Caucasian women (body mass index>25), 20 carrying CLOCK 3111C (CC and TC) and 20 non-carriers with matched age and body mass index who participated in a dietary obesity treatment program of up to 30 weeks. Following the treatment, ambulatory electrocardiography was continuously monitored for up to 3.5 days when subjects underwent their normal daily activities. To assess autonomic function, heart rate variability analysis (HRV) was performed hourly to obtain mean inter-beat interval between two consecutive R waves (mean RR) and s.d. of normal-to-normal heartbeat intervals (SDNN), and two parasympathetic measures, namely, proportion of differences between adjacent NN intervals that are >50 ms (pNN50), and high-frequency (HF: 0.15-0.4 Hz) power.Results:In the TT carriers, all tested HRV indices showed significant daily rhythms (all P-values <0.0001) with lower mean RR, SDNN, pNN50, and HF during the daytime as compared with the nighttime. The amplitudes of these rhythms except for SDNN were reduced significantly in the C carriers (mean RR: ∼19.7%, P=0.001; pNN50: 58.1%, P=0.001; and HF: 41.1%, P=0.001). In addition, subjects with less weight loss during the treatment program had smaller amplitudes in the rhythms of mean RR (P<0.0001), pNN50 (P=0.007) and HF (P=0.003). Furthermore, the rhythmicity-weight loss associations were much stronger in the C carriers as compared to the TT carriers (mean RR: P=0.028, pNN50: P=0.0002; HF: P=0.015).Conclusions:The daily rhythm of parasympathetic modulation may play a role in the influence of the CLOCK variation on body weight control.