Aim: Shift workers have a high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Systemic inflammation measured has been associated with the risk of CVD onset, in addition to classical risk factors. However, the association between work schedule and inflammatory cytokine levels remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between work schedule and interleukin-6 (IL-6)/high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels among Japanese workers.
Methods: The present cross-sectional study was a part of the Japanese Study of Health, Occupation and Psychosocial Factors Related Equity (J-HOPE). A total of 5259 persons who measured inflammatory cytokine were analyzed in this study. One-way analysis of variance was used to test log-transformed IL-6/hs-CRP differences by work schedule. Multiple regression analysis was used to examine the difference adjusted for other possible CVD risk factors.
Results: There were 3660 participants who had a regular work schedule; the remaining schedules were shift work without night work for 181 participants, shift work with night work for 1276 participants, and only night work for 142 participants. The unadjusted model showed that only night workers were significantly related to high levels of IL-6 compared with regular workers. Even in the multiple regression analysis, the higher level of IL-6 among only night workers remained significant (β=0.058, P=0.01). On the contrary, hs-CRP was not.
Conclusion: The present study revealed that only night shift work is significantly associated with high levels of IL-6 in Japanese workers. These observations help us understand the mechanism for the association between work schedule and CVD onset.