Working around the clock as a consequence of our growing 24/7 economy strains and disturbs the tightly regulated circadian system. In epidemiological studies, shift work was associated with many adverse health effects, such as cancer, obesity and cardiovascular disease. These observational human studies are hampered by confounding factors, difficulties with exposure assessment and take many years to complete.
Yet, due to the similarities in carcinogenesis and the circadian system between mice and human, mice provide a unique tool to study the relationship between shift work and cancer. Animal studies are less influenced by confounding factors and therefore provide the ability to study the causal relationship between chronic circadian disturbance and adverse health effects.
Additionally, animal studies provide the ability to study the different aspects of shift work and to identify underlying mechanisms and potential biomarkers for circadian rhythm disturbance (CRD) to aid the development and study of preventive measures.

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G.T.J. van der Horst (Gijsbertus) , H. van Steeg (Harry) , W. Rodenburg (Wendy)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Dycke, K.C.G. (2016, June 7). Working around the Clock: Adverse health effects of circadian rhythm disturbance. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from