Differences in the diurnal variation of salivary stress biomarkers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic between telecommuters and office workers.

  Vol. 44 (1) 2023 Neuro endocrinology letters Journal Article   2023; 44(1): 26-30 PubMed PMID:  36931224    Citation

OBJECTIVES: It is necessary to objectively assess the stress state of workers, from the standpoint of holistic palliative care, in order to determine how the rapid change in work styles in the "live with coronavirus era"-in which people will coexist and live with the coronavirus (COVID-19)-will affect their physical and mental health. The aim of this study is to assess the impact of rapid changes in work patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic on the neuroendocrine stress response of workers. DESIGN AND METHODS: A total of sixteen subjects, 9 telecommuters (2 males, 7 females; age, 37.1±2.6 years) and 7 office workers (3 males, 4 females; age, 37.3±3.0 years) who provided their informed consent were enrolled in this prospective observational study. Saliva was collected four times a day (after waking, noon, evening, and before bedtime) and three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) during May and June 2020. The saliva samples were stored at -20°C until measurement. Saliva components were analyzed by ELISA for cortisol, melatonin, s-IgA, and oxytocin. RESULTS: The diurnal variation of salivary components between telecommuting and office work groups was investigated. Cortisol showed diurnal variation with higher secretion during waking hours and lower secretion toward nighttime in both groups, and no modulation was observed. In the office work group Melatonin showed diurnal variation, with increased secretion at night. In contrast, the telecommuting group showed modulation, with higher secretion at waking and lower secretion at night. s-IgA showed diurnal variation with a high level at waking and a low level thereafter in both groups, and no modulation was observed. The telecommuting group showed higher oxytocin levels in comparison to the office work group. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that the absence of commuting in the telecommuting group reduces anxiety due to infection, and that the diurnal variation of melatonin may be due to the alteration of circadian rhythm caused by being at home all day.

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