The biorhythm of human skeletal growth

Patrick Mahoney*, Justyna J. Miszkiewicz, Simon Chapple, Mona Le Luyer, Stephen H. Schlecht, Tahlia J. Stewart, Richard A. Griffiths, Chris Deter, Debbie Guatelli-Steinberg

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Evidence of a periodic biorhythm is retained in tooth enamel in the form of Retzius lines. The periodicity of Retzius lines (RP) correlates with body mass and the scheduling of life history events when compared between some mammalian species. The correlation has led to the development of the inter-specific Havers–Halberg oscillation (HHO) hypothesis, which holds great potential for studying aspects of a fossil species biology from teeth. Yet, our understanding of if, or how, the HHO relates to human skeletal growth is limited. The goal here is to explore associations between the biorhythm and two hard tissues that form at different times during human ontogeny, within the context of the HHO. First, we investigate the relationship of RP to permanent molar enamel thickness and the underlying daily rate that ameloblasts secrete enamel during childhood. Following this, we develop preliminary research conducted on small samples of adult human bone by testing associations between RP, adult femoral length (as a proxy for attained adult stature) and cortical osteocyte lacunae density (as a proxy for the rate of osteocyte proliferation). Results reveal RP is positively correlated with enamel thickness, negatively correlated with femoral length, but weakly associated with the rate of enamel secretion and osteocyte proliferation. These new data imply that a slower biorhythm predicts thicker enamel for children but shorter stature for adults. Our results develop the intra-specific HHO hypothesis suggesting that there is a common underlying systemic biorhythm that has a role in the final products of human enamel and bone growth.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)26-38
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Anatomy
    Volume232
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

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