Can Night Shift Work Affect Biological Age? Hints from a Cross-Sectional Study on Hospital Female Nurses

Michele Carugno, Cristina Maggioni, Vincenzo Ruggiero, Eleonora Crespi, Paola Monti, Luca Ferrari, Angela Cecilia Pesatori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Disruption of age-related processes seems to play a relevant role in health effects related to night shift (NS) work. We aim to verify whether NS work can influence biological age (BA), estimated through Zbieć-Piekarska's epigenetic signature, based on methylation of five CpG sites in ELOVL2, C1orf132/MIR29B2C, TRIM59, KLF14, and FHL2. Forty-six female nurses working in NS were matched by age and length of employment with 51 female colleagues not working in NS. Each subject filled in a questionnaire (including the Effort Reward Imbalance (ERI) index to assess job stress) and gave a blood sample. Age acceleration (AA) was estimated by regressing BA on chronological age and taking the residuals. Multivariate linear regression models were applied. BA was not associated with NS. However, we did observe an increase in AA per each year in NS in subjects with overweight/obesity (β = 0.46, 95% CI: 0.05; 0.87, p = 0.03), experiencing work-related stress (β = 0.58, 95% CI: 0.10; 1.06, p = 0.018), or both (β = 0.66, 95% CI: 0.03; 1.29, p = 0.041). Although based on a small sample size, our findings suggest an increased BA only among hypersusceptible subjects and is worth further investigation, also in light of recent results suggesting a higher breast cancer risk in women with increased AA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10639
JournalInt J Environ Res Public Health
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 11 2021


  • Aging
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • LIM-Homeodomain Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Nurses
  • Shift Work Schedule/adverse effects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tripartite Motif Proteins
  • Work Schedule Tolerance


Dive into the research topics of 'Can Night Shift Work Affect Biological Age? Hints from a Cross-Sectional Study on Hospital Female Nurses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this