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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

Karoshi May Be a Consequence of Overwork-Related Malignant Arrhythmia

Ning Xiao, Bo-Fan Yang, Jing-Zhuo Shi, Yan-Geng Yu, Fu Zhang, Qi Miao, Dong-Ri Li

School of Forensic Medicine, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2019; 25:357-364

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.911685

Available online: 2019-01-12

Published: 2019-01-12


BACKGROUND: Karoshi, which is sudden death associated with overwork, has become a serious problem in China. Many studies have examined the relationship between cardiovascular risks and karoshi, but there is little evidence that explains the exact mechanism by which overwork induces sudden death. In these cases, there are few obvious positive findings from forensic autopsies except for histories of overwork prior to death. Therefore, we assume that abnormalities, such as cardiac arrhythmia, rather than organic changes are the cause of karoshi.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: In the present study, the forced swim test (FST) was used to establish models of overwork. The myocardial tissues of SD rats taking FST (1 h per day, for 30 consecutive days) were collected. The arrhythmia-related molecule CX43 as well as its upstream regulation molecule Cav-1 and cSrc were tested by Western blot (WB) and immunohistochemistry (IHC). HE staining and Masson‘s staining were performed in the myocardium tissue section.
RESULTS: We observed downregulation of caveolin-1 (Cav1) followed by cSrc activation, resulting in the decrease of connexin43 (Cx43) levels in overwork models. Myocardial interstitial fibrosis, which is associated with electrophysiological aberrances that result in arrhythmia, was also found in the overwork models.
CONCLUSIONS: These data provide a mechanistic explanation for the speculated link between karoshi and cardiac arrhythmias.

Keywords: Arrhythmias, Cardiac, Connexin 43, Fibrosis, Forensic Pathology