Histology of dental long-period biorhythms in Canis familiaris

Russell T. Hogg, Bin Hu, Timothy G. Bromage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Our objective is to assess variation in Havers–Halberg oscillation (HHO) periodicities among domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). The HHO is hypothesized to be a hypothalamic-generated biorhythm coordinating multiple life history variables including body mass and lifespan. Dogs have a broad mass range spanning two orders of magnitude, but this variation has been shown to result from selection on very few genetic loci, and dogs have low variation in other life history traits. Therefore, we predict that HHO variation will not be correlated to body mass among domestic dogs, as it is in anthropoid primates. To test the prediction, we examined dog HHO periodicity via manifestations in tooth enamel and dentine, quantifying HHO rhythm histologically. HHO rhythm is reflected in teeth as the number of days between secretion of successive striae of Retzius (enamel) and Andresen lines (dentine), a value referred to as Retzius periodicity (RP). We counted ca. 24-h growth lines between successive Retzius and Andresen lines to determine RP in histological thin-sections from canine teeth of 19 dogs, representing different breeds and sizes. To test our hypothesis, we regressed RP periodicity against body mass data. Dogs have low RP variation for their body mass range, with a modal periodicity of 5 days and a range of 4–6 days. RP was not significantly correlated with body mass. We conclude that mass variation in dogs does not seem driven by HHO physiology, consistent with findings that IGF1 variants produce dog mass variation. However, low RP (and by extension HHO) variation is consistent with low variation in dog lifespan and gestation, suggesting that dog life history may still be governed by HHO mechanisms even if body mass does not reflect this.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)618-624
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Anatomy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Andresen lines
  • Havers–Halberg oscillation
  • body mass
  • circadian lines
  • life history
  • striae of Retzius

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Histology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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