The Effects of Age and Gender on Our Body Clocks: A Study

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    The circadian clock, which governs many physiological processes such as the sleep-wake cycle, hormone synthesis, and metabolism, is a highly calibrated clock synced to the 24-hour cycle of Earth’s rotation.

    The circadian clock, which regulates numerous physiological processes such as the sleep-wake cycle, hormone synthesis, and metabolism, is a finely calibrated clock that is synchronised to the Earth’s 24-hour rotation cycle.

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    Felix Naef of EPFL has identified the architecture of tissue-specific gene expression rhythms in humans, offering light on how sex and age impact our biological clocks.

    Molecular rhythms are often researched in model organisms using time-stamped measurements; however, such data are not commonly accessible in humans.

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    To overcome this, the researchers coupled known measurements from a large cohort of post-mortem donors with a unique computer technique developed to assign internal clock timings to almost 1,000 donors.

    “Intriguingly, the data-science technique we devised resembled models from magnetic systems, which have been extensively researched in statistical physics,” explains Felix Naef. The researchers used this novel technique to generate the first complete and accurate whole-organism assessment of 24-hour gene expression cycles in 46 human tissues.

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    The researchers discovered that the basic clock mechanism traits are preserved throughout the body and do not alter considerably with gender or age. The investigation, on the other hand, showed broad programmes of gene expression cycles throughout important metabolic compartments, stress response pathways, and immune function, which peaked twice a day.

    Indeed, the growing whole-body architecture of circadian timing reveals that rhythmic gene expression occurs as morning and evening waves, with adrenal gland timing peaking earliest, and brain areas exhibiting significantly lower rhythmicity compared to metabolic organs.

    Dividing the donors based on sex and age showed a previously unknown wealth of sex- and age-specific gene expression patterns spanning several biological activities. Surprisingly, gene expression rhythms were sex-dimorphic (different in men and females) and more persistent in females, but rhythmic programmes were diminished across the body with age.

    Sex-dimorphic rhythms, which relate to variances between males and females, were most visible in the liver’s “xenobiotic detoxification,” which is the process by which the liver breaks down hazardous compounds. Furthermore, the study discovered that as people age, the rhythm of gene expression in the heart’s arteries diminishes, which may explain why older people are more prone to heart disease.

    This knowledge might be valuable in the subject of “chronopharmacology,” which is the study of how a person’s internal clock influences the efficacy and negative effects of the medicine.


    This study sheds fresh light on the complicated interaction of our body clock, sex, and age. Understanding these cycles may lead to novel methods of identifying and treating pathologies including sleep problems and metabolic illnesses.

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