Conroy, R. T. W. L., Elliott, Ann L., and Mills, J. N. (1970).Brit. J. industr. Med.,27, 170-174. Circadian rhythms in plasma concentration of 11-hydroxycorticosteroids in men working on night shift and in permanent night workers. Blood samples have been collected for estimation of plasma 11-hydroxycorticosteroids from three groups of workers - day and night shift workers in a light engineering factory, and night workers in a newspaper printing works. Up to five samples were collected over 24 hr, or two samples per 24 hr were collected for three days. In conformity with the observations of others, day workers showed maximal concentrations in the morning around the time when they started work. In the newspaper workers maximal concentrations were found when they awoke around 14·00 hr. Night shift workers in the engineering works showed a greater variety of pattern, some showing the pattern usual in a day worker, some showing a maximum concentration about midnight and a minimum around 06·00 hr and a large proportion showing no clear circadian rhythm.
In the newspaper workers the rhythm was thus well adapted to their pattern of nocturnal work, whereas relatively few of the night shift workers in the engineering works showed such adaptation. It appears that the adrenal cortical rhythm can be adapted to night work in a community in which this is universal, accepted and lifelong, but that such adjustment is unusual in men on night shift work for limited periods, and whose associates are mainly following a usual nycthemeral existence.
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