Abstract Musica Universalis is an ancient philosophical concept claiming the movements of celestial bodies follow mathematical equations and resonate to produce an inaudible harmony of music, and the harmonious sounds that men make were an approximation of this larger harmony of the universe (1). Besides music, electromagnetic waves such as light and electric signals also are presented as harmonic resonances. Despite the seemingly universal theme of harmonic resonance in various disciplines, it was not until recently that the same harmonic resonance was discovered also to exist in biological systems. Contrary to traditional belief that a biological system is either at steady state or cycles with a single frequency, it is now appreciated that most biological systems have no homeostatic “set point”, but rather oscillate as composite rhythms consisting of superimposed oscillations (2). These oscillations often cycle at different harmonics of the circadian rhythm, and among these, the ∼12h oscillation is most prevalent (2). In this mini-review, we focus on these 12h oscillations, with special attention to their evolutionary origin, regulation and functions in mammals, as well as their relationship to the circadian rhythm. We further examine the potential roles of the 12h-clock in regulating hepatic steatosis, aging and the possibility of 12h-clock-based chronotherapy. Finally, we posit that biological rhythms are also “Musica Universalis”: while the circadian rhythm is synchronized to the 24h light/dark cycle coinciding with the Earth’s rotation, the mammalian 12h-clock may have evolved from the circatidal clock, which is entrained by the 12h tidal cues orchestrated by the moon. Copyright © 2018 Endocrine Society This article has been published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial, No-Derivatives License (CC BY-NC-ND; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Journal of the Endocrine Society – Oxford University Press
Published: Jun 6, 2018
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