GlycA, a Biomarker of Low-Grade Inflammation, Is Increased in Male Night Shift Workers

Daniele Bizzarri, Martijn E. T. Dollé, Bette Loef, E.B. van den Akker, Linda W. M. van Kerkhof*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


Sustained night shift work is associated with various adverse health risks, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and susceptibility to infectious respiratory diseases. The extent of these adverse health effects, however, seems to greatly vary between night shift workers, yet the underlying reasons and the mechanisms underlying these interindividual differences remain poorly understood. Metabolomics assays in the blood have recently gained much attention as a minimally invasive biomarker platform capturing information predictive of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. In this cross-sectional study, we explored and compared the metabolic profiles of 1010 night shift workers and 1010 age- and sex-matched day workers (non-shift workers) from the Lifelines Cohort Study. The metabolic profiles were determined using the 1H-NMR Nightingale platform for the quantification of 250 parameters of metabolism, including routine lipids, extensive lipoprotein subclasses, fatty acid composition, and various low-molecular metabolites, including amino acids, ketone bodies, and gluconeogenesis-related metabolites. Night shift workers had an increased BMI (26.6 vs. 25.9 kg/m2) compared with day workers (non-shift workers) in both sexes, were slightly more likely to be ever smokers (only in males) (54% vs. 46%), worked on average 5.9 ± 3.7 night shifts per month, and had been working in night shifts for 18.3 ± 10.5 years on average. We observed changes in several metabolic markers in male night shift workers compared with non-shift workers, but no changes were observed in women. In men, we observed higher levels of glycoprotein acetyls (GlycA), triglycerides, and fatty acids compared with non-shift workers. The changes were seen in the ratio of triglycerides and cholesterol(esters) to total lipids in different sizes of VLDL particles. Glycoprotein acetyls (GlycAs) are of particular interest as markers since they are known as biomarkers for low-grade chronic inflammation. When the analyses were adjusted for BMI, no significant associations were observed. Further studies are needed to better understand the relationship between night shift work and metabolic profiles, particularly with respect to the role of sex and BMI in this relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1172
Number of pages14
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • circadian rhythms
  • metabolomics
  • night shift work


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