May 22, 2018

Study: Staying up all night disrupts blood protein levels

By: Judy Mathias

Editor’s Note

Working the night shift and sleeping during the day for just a few days can disrupt levels and time-of-day patterns of more than 100 proteins in the blood (ie, plasma proteomes), this study finds.

Six healthy men volunteers in their 20s spent 6 days in the clinical translational research center at the University of Colorado Hospital, where their meals, sleep, activity, and light exposure were tightly controlled.

A total of 127 proteins were altered by simulated night shifts, including multiple proteins that regulate glucose homeostasis and those associated with biological pathways involved in immune function, metabolism, and cancer.

This is the first study to examine how protein levels in human blood vary over a 24-hour period and how altered sleep and meal timing affects them. The findings show how a couple of nights of shift work can very rapidly alter normal physiology in a way that if sustained can be detrimental to health, the researchers say.


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