Sex differences in the diathetic effects of shift work schedules on circulating cytokine levels and pathological outcomes of ischemic stroke during middle age. Academic Article uri icon


  • Shift work is associated with increased risk for vascular disease, including stroke- and cardiovascular-related mortality. However, evidence from these studies is inadequate to distinguish the effect of altered circadian rhythms in isolation from other risk factors for stroke associated with shift work (e.g., smoking, poor diet, lower socioeconomic status). Thus, the present study examined the diathetic effects of exposure to shifted LD cycles during early adulthood on circadian rhythmicity, inflammatory signaling and ischemic stroke pathology during middle age, when stroke risk is high and outcomes are more severe. Entrainment of circadian activity was stable in all animals maintained on a fixed light:dark 12:12 cycle but was severely disrupted during exposure to shifted LD cycles (12hr advance/5d). Following treatment, circadian entrainment in the shifted LD group was distinguished by increased daytime activity and decreased rhythm amplitude that persisted into middle-age. Circadian rhythm desynchronization in shifted LD males and females was accompanied by significant elevations in circulating levels of the inflammatory cytokine IL-17A and gut-derived inflammatory mediator lipopolysaccharide (LPS) during the post-treatment period. Middle-cerebral artery occlusion, 3 months after exposure to shifted LD cycles, resulted in greater post-stroke mortality in shifted LD females. In surviving subjects, sensorimotor performance, assessed 2- and 5-days post-stroke, was impaired in males of both treatment groups, whereas in females, recovery of function was observed in fixed but not shifted LD rats. Overall, these results indicate that early exposure to shifted LD cycles promotes an inflammatory phenotype that amplifies stroke impairments, specifically in females, later in life.

published proceedings

  • Neurobiol Sleep Circadian Rhythms

altmetric score

  • 190.85

author list (cited authors)

  • Earnest, D. J., Burns, S., Pandey, S., Mani, K. K., & Sohrabji, F.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Earnest, David J||Burns, Shaina||Pandey, Sivani||Mani, Kathiresh Kumar||Sohrabji, Farida

publication date

  • January 2022