A new study sheds light on the effects of night work on female fertility.
- In female mice, exposure to staggered hours for four weeks disrupted their biological clock.
- Because of the night work, the massive release of the pituitary hormone, called “luteinizing hormone”, which triggers ovulation was cancelled.
- This study sheds light on the negative effects of night work for women on their fertility.
Working at odd hours for four weeks could disrupt the biological clock and reduce fertility in women. This was revealed a study presented during the 25th European Congress of Endocrinology which took place in Istanbul, Türkiye. To reach this conclusion, researchers from the Institute of Cellular and Integrative Neurosciences (INCI) and the University of Strasbourg conducted an experiment on female mice. They mimicked night work conditions, constantly shifting the light-dark cycle, delaying and advancing light exposure by ten hours for four weeks.
The hormonal imbalance linked to the alteration of the biological clock would reduce fertility
The authors found that night work for several weeks resulted in a reduced pregnancy rate in female mice. In detail, they observed that the massive release of the pituitary hormone, called “luteinizing hormone”, which triggers ovulation was reversed, which reduced fertility in these rodents. “The decreased fertility is due to impaired signaling from the main circadian clock to the hypothalamic reproductive circuitry. Specifically, our research shows that four weeks of chronic exposure to staggered schedules impairs the transmission of information light from the master biological clock to kisspeptin neurons, which are known to determine the timing of the preovulatory surge of luteinizing hormone,” explained Marine Simonneaux, lead author of the work, in a press release.
Night work: determine if other internal clocks are disturbed
In their next research, scientists will analyze whether other internal clocks are altered after working shifts. “The circadian rhythm requires not only the proper functioning of the main biological clock, but also the synchronized activity of many secondary clocks present in other areas of the brain and in peripheral organs, including the reproductive organs. It is important to understand the precise mechanisms by which circadian rhythm disruption impairs reproductive function, as this could pave the way for preventive and therapeutic interventions aimed at reducing some of the negative effects of night work on women’s fertility.” concluded Marine Simonneaux.