Exposure to Night-Time Traffic Noise, Melatonin-Regulating Gene Variants and Change in Glycemia in Adults

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Dec 1;14(12):1492. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14121492.


Traffic noise has been linked to diabetes, with limited understanding of its mechanisms. We hypothesize that night-time road traffic noise (RTN) may impair glucose homeostasis through circadian rhythm disturbances. We prospectively investigated the relationship between residential night-time RTN and subsequent eight-year change in glycosylated hemoglobin (ΔHbA1c) in 3350 participants of the Swiss Cohort Study on Air Pollution and Lung and Heart Diseases in Adults (SAPALDIA), adjusting for diabetes risk factors and air pollution levels. Annual average RTN (Lnight) was assigned to participants in 2001 using validated Swiss noise models. HbA1c was measured in 2002 and 2011 using liquid chromatography. We applied mixed linear models to explore RTN-ΔHbA1c association and its modification by a genetic risk score of six common circadian-related MTNR1B variants (MGRS). A 10 dB difference in RTN was associated with a 0.02% (0.003-0.04%) increase in mean ΔHbA1c in 2142 non-movers. RTN-ΔHbA1c association was modified by MGRS among diabetic participants (Pinteraction = 0.001). A similar trend in non-diabetic participants was non-significant. Among the single variants, we observed strongest interactions with rs10830963, an acknowledged diabetes risk variant also implicated in melatonin profile dysregulation. Night-time RTN may impair glycemic control, especially in diabetic individuals, through circadian rhythm disturbances. Experimental sleep studies are needed to test whether noise control may help individuals to attain optimal glycemic levels.

Keywords: MTNR1B gene; adults; circadian sleep-wake cycle; cohort study; diabetes; gene-environment interactions; glycosylated hemoglobin; rs10830963; transportation noise.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Glucose*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis*
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Melatonin / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Noise, Transportation / adverse effects*
  • Receptor, Melatonin, MT1 / genetics
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep
  • Switzerland


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Receptor, Melatonin, MT1
  • Melatonin