Are you working on night shifts regularly? Then, chances are that your body’s ability to repair DNA damage might get hampered. A new study led by an Indian-origin researcher has confirmed the same. The inferences suggested that night shift schedule suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin in people. It was also evident that night-shift worker producer lower levels of a chemical by-product of active DNA tissue repair called 8-OH-dG in the urine than those who worked in day shifts. This can lead to higher levels of DNA damage in night-shift workers.
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Those who work in night shift also showed a reduced ability to repair the cellular damage. The key factor behind this observation is likely to be suppressed production of sleep hormone melatonin during the day sleep as compared to night sleep.
“Our results indicate that, relative to night sleep, reduced melatonin production among shift workers during night work is associated with significantly reduced urinary excretion of 8-OH-dG,” said Parveen Bhatti from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Washington.
“This likely reflects a reduced capacity to repair oxidative DNA damage due to insufficient levels of melatonin and may result in cells harbouring higher levels of DNA damage,” he continued.
“If such effects are confirmed, melatonin supplementation should be explored as an intervention to reduce the occurrence of potentially carcinogenic DNA damage among shift workers,” Bhatti added.
The study published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The team measure the 8-OH-dG levels in the urine samples of 50 night shift workers who showed the widest discrepancies in levels of circulating melatonin between night work and night sleep.
An analysis of the urine samples showed that melatonin levels were much lower when taken during a night shift than when taken during a normal night’s sleep