Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Blood donations could help reduce the risk of heart disease in shift workers

Date:
July 2, 2014
Source:
Society for Experimental Biology
Summary:
Researchers have found that jetlag has severe effects on red blood cells, possibly explaining the high incidence of heart disease seen in shift workers. However, these effects can be counterbalanced by fresh, young red blood cells -- making blood donations a potential therapy for shift workers.

Jetlag severely affects the cardiovascular system of Zebrafish (Danio rerio).
Credit: Anil Ramalingam

Austrian researchers have found that jetlag has severe effects on red blood cells, possibly explaining the high incidence of heart disease seen in shift workers. However, these effects can be counterbalanced by fresh, young red blood cells -- making blood donations a potential therapy for shift workers.

The scientists, led by Dr Margit Egg (University of Innsbruck), worked on zebrafish (Danio rerio), a model organism which, like humans, is active during the day. The fish were subjected to alternate short (7 hour) and long (21 hour) days, resembling shift patterns common in industry. It was found that "jetlagged" animals showed higher numbers of aged red blood cells, which accumulated in the blood vessels.

Dr Egg says: "Normally there is a balance between newly produced red blood cells and old ones which are removed from the blood." Old cells are less flexible and become stuck in the spleen and liver, where they are engulfed by white blood cells. Jetlag appears to disrupt this removal process, but the researchers are currently unsure why this is the case.

Large aggregates of old red blood cells in the vessels are risky, because this increases the chance of a clot that could lead to a heart attack. This may explain why shift workers have a 30% higher risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, the decreased functionality of the aged cells reduces the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.

The researchers also found that zebrafish were less badly affected by jetlag if they were simultaneously exposed to conditions where oxygen was limiting (known as hypoxia). This is because hypoxia stimulates the production of fresh red blood cells. The cell signalling pathways which regulate daily rhythms and the hypoxic response are intrinsically linked. This is based on the observation that genes activated by hypoxia, such as erythropoietin, which regulates red blood cell production, normally show a daily rhythm of activity which becomes disturbed under hypoxic conditions.

"In zebrafish, hypoxia in combination with jetlag led to the production of fresh red blood cells, counteracting the harmful consequences of jetlag and reducing mortality by 10%," says Dr Egg. "Blood donations in humans also stimulate the generation of new fresh erythrocytes. Therefore, blood donations on a regular basis might be a very simple measure to help decrease the cardiovascular risk in human shift workers."

Professor Egg and her colleagues are currently investigating whether jetlag affects any other physiological processes, apart from the cardiovascular system.

This research was presented at the Society for Experimental Biology Annual Meeting 2014 held at Manchester University, UK, from the 1st -- 4th of July.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Experimental Biology. "Blood donations could help reduce the risk of heart disease in shift workers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140702203808.htm>.
Society for Experimental Biology. (2014, July 2). Blood donations could help reduce the risk of heart disease in shift workers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140702203808.htm
Society for Experimental Biology. "Blood donations could help reduce the risk of heart disease in shift workers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140702203808.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Doctors once thought artificial sweeteners lacked the health risks of sugar, but a new study says they can impact blood sugar levels the same way. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) A healthy British volunteer is to become the first person to receive a new vaccine for the Ebola virus after US President Barack Obama called for action against the epidemic and warned it was "spiralling out of control." Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Researchers are puzzled as to why obesity rates remain relatively stable as average waistlines continue to expand. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins