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German researchers discover how sleep can fight infections.

Researchers in Germany have discovered why sleep can sometimes be the best medicine. The dream improves the potential capacity of some of the body's immune cells to join its goals, according to a new study to be published on February 12 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. The study, led by Stoyan Dimitrov and Luciana Besedovsky at the University of Tübingen, helps explain how sleep can fight an infection, while other conditions, such as chronic stress, can make the body more susceptible to diseases.

T cells are a type of white blood cell that is critical to the body's immune response. When T cells recognize a specific target, such as a cell infected with a virus, they activate sticky proteins known as integrins that allow them to bind to their target and, in the case of a cell infected with a virus, kill it. While much is known about the signals that activate integrins, the signals that could reduce the ability of T cells to bind to their targets are less well known.

Stoyan Dimitrov and his colleagues at the University of Tübingen decided to investigate the effects of a diverse group of signaling molecules known as GαsCoagulated receptor agonists. Many of these molecules can suppress the immune system, but it is unknown whether they inhibit the ability of T cells to activate their integrins and bind to target cells.

Dimitrov and his colleagues found that certain Gαscoagulated receptor agonists, including the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline, the proinflammatory molecules prostaglandin Etwo and Dtwoand the adenosine neuromodulator prevented T cells from activating their integrins after recognizing their target. "The levels of these molecules needed to inhibit integrin activation are observed in many pathological conditions, such as tumor growth, malaria infection, hypoxia and stress," says Dimitrov. "This pathway can, therefore, contribute to the immunological suppression associated with these pathologies."

The levels of adrenaline and prostaglandin decrease while the body is asleep. Dimitrov and his colleagues compared T cells taken from healthy volunteers while they slept or stayed up all night. T cells taken from sleeping volunteers showed significantly higher levels of integrin activation than T cells taken from awake subjects. The researchers were able to confirm that the beneficial effect of sleep on T-cell integrin activation was due to the decrease in GαsActivation of the coupled receiver.

"Our findings show that sleep has the potential to improve the efficiency of T cell responses, which is especially relevant in view of the high prevalence of disorders and sleep conditions characterized by sleep disorders, such as depression, chronic stress , aging and shift work, "says the late author Luciana Besedovsky.

In addition to helping to explain the beneficial effects of sleep and the negative effects of conditions such as stress, the study by Dimitrov and his colleagues could stimulate the development of new therapeutic strategies that improve the ability of T cells to adhere to their goals. This could be useful, for example, for immunotherapy against cancer, where T cells are required to attack and kill tumor cells.


Dimitrov et al. 2019 J. Exp. Medicine. http: // jem.breaking offorg /cgi /doi /101084 /jem20181169? PR

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