BACKGROUND. The circadian clock is a fundamental and pervasive biological program that coordinates 24-hour rhythms in physiology, metabolism, and behavior, and it is essential to health. Whereas therapy adapted to time of day is increasingly reported to be highly successful, it needs to be personalized, since internal circadian time is different for each individual. In addition, internal time is not a stable trait, but is influenced by many factors, including genetic predisposition, age, sex, environmental light levels, and season. An easy and convenient diagnostic tool is currently missing. METHODS. To establish a validated test, we followed a 3-stage biomarker development strategy: (a) using circadian transcriptomics of blood monocytes from 12 individuals in a constant routine protocol combined with machine learning approaches, we identified biomarkers for internal time; and these biomarkers (b) were migrated to a clinically relevant gene expression profiling platform (NanoString) and (c) were externally validated using an independent study with 28 early or late chronotypes. RESULTS. We developed a highly accurate and simple assay (BodyTime) to estimate the internal circadian time in humans from a single blood sample. Our assay needs only a small set of blood-based transcript biomarkers and is as accurate as the current gold standard method, dim-light melatonin onset, at smaller monetary, time, and sample-number cost. CONCLUSION. The BodyTime assay provides a new diagnostic tool for personalization of health care according to the patient’s circadian clock. FUNDING. This study was supported by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, Germany (FKZ: 13N13160 and 13N13162) and Intellux GmbH, Germany.
Nicole Wittenbrink, Bharath Ananthasubramaniam, Mirjam Münch, Barbara Koller, Bert Maier, Charlotte Weschke, Frederik Bes, Jan de Zeeuw, Claudia Nowozin, Amely Wahnschaffe, Sophia Wisniewski, Mandy Zaleska, Osnat Bartok, Reut Ashwal-Fluss, Hedwig Lammert, Hanspeter Herzel, Michael Hummel, Sebastian Kadener, Dieter Kunz, Achim Kramer
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at email@example.com.