Sex Differences in Rest-Activity Circadian Rhythm in Patients With Metabolic Syndrome

Antonino Mulè, Eleonora Bruno, Patrizia Pasanisi, Letizia Galasso, Lucia Castelli, Andrea Caumo, Fabio Esposito, Eliana Roveda, Angela Montaruli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rest-Activity circadian Rhythm (RAR) can be used as a marker of the circadian timing system. Recent studies investigated the relationship between irregular circadian rhythms and cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, obesity, and dyslipidemia. These factors are related to the Metabolic Syndrome (MS), a clustering of metabolic risk factors that increases the risk of several cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. This cross-sectional analysis aimed to explore the RAR characteristics by actigraphy in subjects with MS, particularly in relation to sex and MS parameters, using parametric and non-parametric analyses. Distinguishing the characteristics of RAR based on sex could prove useful as a tool to improve the daily level of activity and set up customized activity programs based on each person's circadian activity profile. This study showed that female participants exhibited higher values than male participants in the Midline Estimating Statistic of Rhythm (MESOR) (243.3 ± 20.0 vs 197.6 ± 17.9 activity count), Amplitude (184.5 ± 18.5 vs 144.2 ± 17.2 activity count), which measures half of the extent of the rhythmic variation in a cycle, and the most active 10-h period (M10) (379.08 ± 16.43 vs 295.13 ± 12.88 activity count). All these parameters are indicative of a higher daily activity level in women. Female participants also had lower Intradaily Variability (IV) than male participants (0.75 ± 0.03 vs 0.85 ± 0.03 activity count), which indicates a more stable and less fragmented RAR. These preliminary data provide the first experimental evidence of a difference in RAR parameters between male and female people with MS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641461
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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