Stable isotope ratios in hair and teeth reflect biologic rhythms

Otto Appenzeller, Clifford Qualls, Franca Barbic, Raffaello Furlan, Alberto Porta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Biologic rhythms give insight into normal physiology and disease. They can be used as biomarkers for neuronal degenerations. We present a diverse data set to show that hair and teeth contain an extended record of biologic rhythms, and that analysis of these tissues could yield signals of neurodegenerations. We examined hair from mummified humans from South America, extinct mammals and modern animals and people, both healthy and diseased, and teeth of hominins. We also monitored heart-rate variability, a measure of a biologic rhythm, in some living subjects and analyzed it using power spectra. The samples were examined to determine variations in stable isotope ratios along the length of the hair and across growth-lines of the enamel in teeth. We found recurring circa-annual periods of slow and fast rhythms in hydrogen isotope ratios in hair and carbon and oxygen isotope ratios in teeth. The power spectra contained slow and fast frequency power, matching in terms of normalized frequency, the spectra of heart rate variability found in our living subjects. Analysis of the power spectra of hydrogen isotope ratios in hair fron- a patient with neurodegeneration revealed the same spectral features seen in the patient's heart-rate variability. Our study shows that spectral analysis of stable isotope ratios in readily avaliable tissues such as hair could become a powerful diagnostic tool when effective treatment and nedroprotective drugs for neurodegenerative diseases become available. It also suggests that similar analyses of archaeological specimens could give insight into the physiology of ancient people and animals.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere636
JournalPLoS One
Volume2
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 25 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Stable isotope ratios in hair and teeth reflect biologic rhythms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this