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Endocrinology. 2010 Mar;151(3):1019-29. doi: 10.1210/en.2009-0864. Epub 2010 Jan 15.

Food intake during the normal activity phase prevents obesity and circadian desynchrony in a rat model of night work.

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Departamento de Anatomía, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México DF 04510, México.


Shift work or night work is associated with hypertension, metabolic syndrome, cancer, and other diseases. The cause for these pathologies is proposed to be the dissociation between the temporal signals from the biological clock and the sleep/activity schedule of the night worker. We investigated the mechanisms promoting metabolic desynchrony in a model for night work in rats, based on daily 8-h activity schedules during the resting phase. We demonstrate that the major alterations leading to internal desynchrony induced by this working protocol, flattened glucose and locomotor rhythms and the development of abdominal obesity, were caused by food intake during the rest phase. Shifting food intake to the normal activity phase prevented body weight increase and reverted metabolic and rhythmic disturbances of the shift work animals to control ranges. These observations demonstrate that feeding habits may prevent or induce internal desynchrony and obesity.

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