Study Links Milestones With Teeth’s Biological Rhythms
While it’s well known that the human body is run by a biological clock, the fact that even teeth have their own biological rhythms may come as a surprise. Researchers at New York University (NYU) College of Dentistry have found experimental evidence demonstrating that a chronobiological rhythm is responsible for regulating the dentition’s pace of growth and development. Such a finding, the team notes, may be an important part of the puzzle surrounding the evolution of species.
The research, “The Swine Plasma Metabolome Chronicles ‘Many Days’ Biological Timing and Functions Linked to Growth,” published in PLOS One, explains how a daily biological clock controls the pace of development in mammals, including age at maturity and other key milestones.
In an attempt to understand these mechanisms, the team conducted metabolome and genome analysis of blood plasma in pigs. Rhythms of growth and metabolic degradation were observed in what lead author Timothy Bromage, BA, MA, PhD, calls “the first-ever use of metabolomics to address a question in evolutionary biology.”
The team found that blood plasma oscillates on a five-day rhythm, and closer analysis revealed a corresponding rhythm in the pigs’ tooth enamel. These types of rhythms control tissue growth, and are also responsible for degradation of growth-related molecular compounds. “These findings provide new insight into biological processes regulating growth and body size, and controlling gestation length, weaning, age at maturity, and other developmental milestones,” Bromage notes.
Additional research is planned, during which the team will use metabolic profiling to better understand the intricacies of growth rhythms in the teeth of monkeys. A subsequent study will seek to examine the impact of growth rhythms on human enamel.