Chronic sleep deprivation alters the production of inflammation-related immune cells and changes the DNA of immune cells in young healthy adults, a new study has found.

“Immune cells not only increase in number, but can be wired and programmed differently at the end of six weeks of sleep restriction,” said study author Cameron McAlpine, Icahn Assistant Professor of Cardiology and Neuroscience. Medical School at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Together, these two factors can predispose a person to cardiovascular disease.

A certain amount of the immune system is necessary to help the body fight infections and heal wounds, but overstimulating the immune system is harmful and increases the risk of autoimmunity and chronic disease, experts say.

It was the study. It was published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine on September 21.

“This work is consistent with the field’s view that sleep restriction may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure,” said Steven Malin, an associate professor in the department of kinesiology and health at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

“Practically, these findings support the idea of ​​developing good sleep habits, which usually lead to adequate sleep,” added Malin, who was not involved in the study.

To stay healthy, the body must go through four stages of sleep several times each night. In the first and second stages, the body’s movement begins to decrease. Doing so prepares us for the third stage – a deep, slow wave in which the body restores itself at the cellular level – repairing the damage of the day’s wear and tear and consolidating memories into long-term storage.

The body needs restorative sleep to heal and rejuvenate itself.

Rapid eye movement sleep, called REM, is the final stage of dreaming. Studies show that Lack of REM sleep It can cause memory loss and poor cognitive outcomes As well as heart and other chronic diseases and one Early death.

On the side, Years of research He got sleep, especially deep, very healing, increases the function of immunity.

Because each sleep cycle is approximately 90 minutes long, most adults need seven to eight hours of relatively uninterrupted sleep to achieve restorative sleep. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study was small, 14 young, healthy people with no sleep problems. But the duration of the study was too long, which gave it strength, McAlpine said.

“A lot of sleep studies are one day, two days, maybe a week or two,” he said. But very few look at the effect on sleep for six weeks, and that’s what we did.

All in the study Researchers wore a wrist accelerometer that allowed them to track their sleep quality and duration during each 24-hour period. During the first six weeks, each study participant slept the seven to eight hours the CDC recommends for adults. For the next six weeks, they reduced their sleep by 90 minutes each night.

At the end of each six-week cycle, blood was taken in the morning and evening and analyzed for immune cell response. No negative changes were found in people who got enough sleep. However, after the study participants spent six weeks on sleep restriction, blood tests found a certain increase in immune cells when blood was taken at night.

“This sleep restriction deficit was very specific to one type of immune cell called a monocyte, while other immune cells did not respond,” McAlpine said. “This is a sign of a fire extinguisher.”

The blood test found epigenetic changes in monocyte immune cells after prolonged sleep deprivation. Epigenes are proteins and chemicals that sit like freckles on each gene, waiting to tell the gene “what to do, where to do it, and when to do it.” National Human Genome Research Institute. The epigenome literally turns genes on and off, often based on environmental triggers and human behaviors such as smoking, eating stimulants, or chronic sleep deprivation.

“The results indicate that gene expression of tumor-related proteins, known as epi-genomes, are upregulated by sleep restriction,” Malin said. “This modification increases the risk of immune cells becoming more inflammatory in nature. The study did not perform functional or clinical measures to confirm disease risk, but it lays the foundation for future studies to consider these mechanisms.”

Epigenes can be turned on and off, so after study subjects return to a full night’s sleep, does the change in immune function remain? The study was unable to test that effect in humans. But the researchers conducted additional studies on rats, which yielded interesting results.

The immune activity in sleep-deprived mice mirrored that of humans – the production of immune cells increased, and epigenetic changes were observed in cell DNA. In these studies, the mice were allowed to sleep well for 10 weeks before being tested again.

Researchers found that despite long periods of adequate sleep, DNA changes persisted and the immune system continued to over-stimulate, leaving the mice susceptible to disease and illness.

“Our findings suggest that sleep recovery may not fully reverse the effects of poor quality sleep. “In mice,” McAlpine said, adding that his lab is continuing to work with humans to see if the results translate to humans. translate)

“This study begins to identify the biological mechanisms that link sleep and immune health over the long term. This is important because it is another key observation that sleep reduces inflammation and, conversely, sleep deprivation increases inflammation,” said lead author Philip Swirsky, MD, director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute at Icahn Mount Sinai. press release.

“This work emphasizes the importance of getting seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep a day for adults to help prevent inflammation and disease, especially for people with chronic disease.

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