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Summary: Our circadian rhythm may explain why we are more prone to different health conditions at different points throughout the day.
Source: Cell Press
In a review published May 17 in the journal Trends in Immunology, researchers discuss how the time of day affects the severity of afflictions ranging from allergies to heart attacks.
Researchers in Switzerland compiled studies, predominantly in mice, that looked at the connection between circadian rhythms and immune responses. For example, studies showed that adaptive immune responses–in which highly specialized, pathogen-fighting cells develop over weeks–are under circadian control. This is “striking,” says senior author Christoph Scheiermann, an immunologist at the University of Geneva, “and should have relevance for clinical applications, from transplants to vaccinations.”
The body reacts to cues such as light and hormones to anticipate recurring rhythms of sleep, metabolism, and other physiological processes. In both humans and mice, the numbers of white blood cells also oscillate in a circadian manner, raising the question of whether it might be possible one day to optimize immune response through awareness and utilization of the circadian clock.
In separate studies that compared immune cell time-of-day rhythms under normal conditions, inflammation, and disease, researchers found that:
“Investigating circadian rhythms in innate and adaptive immunity is a great tool to generally understand the physiological interplay and time-dependent succession of events in generating immune responses,” Scheiermann says. “The challenge lies in how to channel our growing mechanistic understanding of circadian immunology into time-tailored therapies for human patients.”
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Source: Cell Press Media Contacts: Carly Britton – Cell Press Image Source: The image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Open access “Time-of-Day-Dependent Trafficking and Function of Leukocyte Subsets”. Robert Pick, Wenyan He, Chien-Sin Chen, Christoph Scheiermann. Trends in Immunology. doi:10.1016/j.it.2019.03.010
Time-of-Day-Dependent Trafficking and Function of Leukocyte Subsets
Leukocytes infiltrate tissues in a time-of-day-dependent manner, depending on subset- and tissue-specific rhythms in promigratory factors. Murine neutrophils rhythmically infiltrate many organs and thereby change the phenotype of the respective tissue.
Adaptive immune responses, which take weeks to develop, are under circadian control in mice, and strongly depend on the time of day when an initial stimulus is given.
Leukocytes can cell-autonomously regulate their circadian oscillations in the murine host by responding to reactive oxygen species and altering the binding of HIF-1α to the clock protein BMAL1, thus governing chemokine CXCR4 expression.
Glucocorticoids transcriptionally regulate the expression of the IL-7 receptor in a circadian manner in mice, thus driving rhythmic CXCR4 expression and CD4+ and CD8+ T cell redistribution across the body.
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