Original paper

Human biological research since 2006 at the Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel – Aging, chronobiology, and high altitude adaptation

Dittmar, Manuela

Anthropologischer Anzeiger Volume 71 No. 1-2 (2014), p. 143 - 153

published: Mar 1, 2014

DOI: 10.1127/0003-5548/2014/0392

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ArtNo. ESP140007101012, Price: 29.00 €

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Abstract

This article reviews the research at the Department of Human Biology at the Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel since 2006. The research focuses on the investigation of recent human populations with respect to aging, chronobiology, and adaptation to high altitude. The research areas are outlined presenting findings, ongoing projects and future directions. Aging research examines biological changes in humans considering that aging is a multidimensional process. Changes in body composition, resting energy metabolism, oxidative stress, and sleep have been examined. The applicability of specific research methods to older people has been tested. Chronobiological research concentrates on investigating circadian rhythms of humans. The emphasis lies on the sleep-wake rhythm, body temperature rhythms, hormonal rhythms (cortisol and melatonin) and the circadian expression of so-called clock genes which are involved in the generation of circadian rhythms. Association studies examine the relationship between defined chronobiological phenotypes and clock gene polymorphisms. Genetic aspects are as well investigated within the third research area on the adaptation of native populations to life at high altitude in the South American Andes. Both candidate gene analysis and epigenetic parameters are investigated. Future research will concentrate on the aging of the circadian system.

Keywords

agingchronobiologyendocrinologygeneticshigh altitude adaptationhumanphysiology