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 23, 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 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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