Monday, August 26, 2013

Circadian Dysregulation of reproduction article

Shift work and circadian dysregulation of reproduction

  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA
  • 2Department of Cell and Developmental and Integrative Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA
  • 3Department of Biological Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA
Health impairments, including reproductive issues, are associated with working nights or rotating shifts. For example, shift work has been associated with an increased risk of irregular menstrual cycles, endometriosis, infertility, miscarriage, low birth weight or pre-term delivery, and reduced incidence of breastfeeding. Based on what is known about circadian regulation of endocrine rhythms in rodents (and much less in humans), the circadian clock is an integral regulatory part of the reproductive system. When this 24-h program is disordered by environmental perturbation (such as shift work) or genetic alterations, the endocrine system can be impaired. The purpose of this review is to explore the hypothesis that misalignment of reproductive hormones with the environmental light-dark cycle and/or sleep-wake rhythms can disrupt menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and parturition. We highlight the role of the circadian clock in regulating human reproductive physiology and shift work-induced pathology within each step of the reproductive axis while exploring potential mechanisms from the animal model literature. In addition to documenting the reproductive hazards of shift work, we also point out important gaps in our knowledge as critical areas for future investigation. For example, future studies should examine whether forced desynchronization disrupts gonadotropin secretion rhythms and whether there are sleep/wake schedules that are better or worse for the adaptation of the reproductive system to shift work. These studies are necessary in order to define not only whether or not shift work-induced circadian misalignment impairs reproductive capacity, but also to identify strategies for the future that can minimize this desynchronization.
Keywords: endocrinology, pregnancy failure, misalignment, sleep, circadian disruption, infertility
Citation: Gamble KL, Resuehr D and Johnson CH (2013) Shift work and circadian dysregulation of reproduction. Front. Endocrinol. 4:92. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2013.00092
Received: 02 May 2013; Paper pending published: 05 June 2013;
Accepted: 10 July 2013; Published online: 07 August 2013.
Edited by:
James Olcese, Florida State University, USA
Reviewed by:
Ted H. Elsasser, United States Department of Agriculture, USA
Jari Rossi, University of Helsinki, Finland
Copyright: © 2013 Gamble, Resuehr and Johnson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
*Correspondence: Carl Hirschie Johnson, Department of Biological Sciences, Vanderbilt University, 465 21st Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37235, USA e-mail: