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 3, 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 3, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) As a third American missionary is confirmed to have contracted Ebola in Liberia, doctors on the ground in West Africa fear they're losing the battle against the outbreak. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) When Facebook acquired the virtual reality hardware developer Oculus VR in March for $2 billion, CEO Mark Zuckerberg hailed the firm's technology as "a new communication platform." Duration: 02:24 Video provided by AFP
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