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Shift-work: is time of eating determining metabolic health? Evidence from animal models

  • Natalí N. Guerrero-Vargas (a1), Estefania Espitia-Bautista (a1), Ruud M. Buijs (a2) and Carolina Escobar (a1)

Abstract

The circadian disruption in shift-workers is suggested to be a risk factor to develop overweight and metabolic dysfunction. The conflicting time signals given by shifted activity, shifted food intake and exposure to light at night occurring in the shift-worker are proposed to be the cause for the loss of internal synchrony and the consequent adverse effects on body weight and metabolism. Because food elicited signals have proven to be potent entraining signals for peripheral oscillations, here we review the findings from experimental models of shift-work and verify whether they provide evidence about the causal association between shifted feeding schedules, circadian disruption and altered metabolism. We found mainly four experimental models that mimic the conditions of shift-work: protocols of forced sleep deprivation, of forced activity during the normal rest phase, exposure to light at night and shifted food timing. A big variability in the intensity and duration of the protocols was observed, which led to a diversity of effects. A common result was the disruption of temporal patterns of activity; however, not all studies explored the temporal patterns of food intake. According to studies that evaluate time of food intake as an experimental model of shift-work and studies that evaluate shifted food consumption, time of food intake may be a determining factor for the loss of balance at the circadian and metabolic level.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: C. Escobar, fax 5623 2422, email escocarolina@gmail.com

References

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