Paradoxical post-exercise responses of acylated ghrelin and leptin during a simulated night shift

Christopher J. Morris, Sarah Fullick, Warren Gregson, Neil Clarke, Dominic Doran, Don Maclaren, Greg Atkinson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (SciVal)


    Approximately 10% of employees undertake night work, which is a significant predictor of weight gain, possibly because responses to activity and eating are altered at night. It is known that the appetite-related hormone, acylated ghrelin, is suppressed after an acute bout of exercise during the day, but no researcher has explored whether evening exercise alters acylated ghrelin and other appetite-related outcomes during a subsequent night shift. Six healthy men (mean ± SD: age 30 ± 8 yrs, body mass index 23.1 ± 1.1 kg/m2) completed two crossover trials (control and exercise) in random order. Participants fasted from 10:00 h, consumed a test meal at 18:00 h, and then cycled at 50% peak oxygen uptake or rested between 19:00–20:00 h. Participants then completed light activities during a simulated night shift which ended at 05:00 h. Two small isocaloric meals were consumed at 22:00 and 02:00 h. Venous blood samples were drawn via cannulation at 1 h intervals between 19:00–05:00 h for the determination of acylated ghrelin, leptin, insulin, glucose, triglyceride, and non-esterified fatty acids concentrations. Perceived hunger and wrist actimetry were also recorded. During the simulated night shift, mean ± SD acylated ghrelin concentration was 86.5 ± 40.8 pg/ml following exercise compared with 71.7 ± 37.7 pg/ml without prior exercise (p = 0.015). Throughout the night shift, leptin concentration was 263 ± 242 pg/ml following exercise compared with 187 ± 221 pg/ml without prior exercise (p = 0.017). Mean levels of insulin, triglyceride, non-esterified fatty acids, and wrist actimetry level were also higher during the night shift that followed exercise (p
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)590-605
    Number of pages16
    JournalChronobiology International
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 1 May 2010


    Submitted July 27, 2009, Returned for revision August 25, 2009, Accepted November 10, 2009 Sources of support: This research was funded by the National Prevention Research Initiative ( with support from the following organisations: British Heart Foundation; Cancer Research UK; Chief Scientist Office, Scottish Government Health Directorate; Department of Health; Diabetes UK; Economic and Social Research Council; Health & Social Care Research & Development Office for Northern Ireland; Medical Research Council; Welsh Assembly Government; and World Cancer Research Fund.

    FundersFunder number
    Health & Social Care Research & Development Office for Northern Ireland
    Welsh Assembly Government
    Minnesota Department of Health
    Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorate
    Medical Research CouncilG0501286
    Economic and Social Research Council
    British Heart Foundation
    Cancer Research UK
    World Cancer Research Fund
    Diabetes UK
    Chief Scientist Office


      • Acylated ghrelin
      • Energy balance
      • Exercise
      • Hunger
      • Leptin
      • Night work


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