sleep deprivation A small new study suggests that taking a regular basis can damage immune stem cells, potentially increasing the risk of inflammatory disorders and heart disease.
Analysis of blood samples from 14 healthy volunteers who agreed to sip 1½ hours each night for six weeks revealed long-term changes in the behavior of these stem cells, leading to a proliferation of white blood cells that can provoke inflammation. Huh. , according to the report published on Wednesday in Journal of Experimental Medicine,
“The main message from this study is that sleep reduces inflammation and lack of sleep Inflammation is increased,” said co-author Philip Swirsky, director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute at Icahn Mount Sinai in New York. “In subjects who had undergone sleep restriction, the number of immune cells circulating in the blood was higher. These cells are key players in inflammation.”
While a certain amount of inflammation is needed to fight infection and heal wounds, too much can be harmful, he explained. In adequate amounts, persistent swelling It is linked to heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, he said.
To see the effects of restricted sleep on the immune system, Swirsky and his colleagues conducted experiments in humans and mice.
For the human study, researchers recruited volunteers — seven men and seven women with an average age of 35 — who typically slept eight hours a night.
In the first part of that experiment, the volunteers’ sleep was monitored as they normally would for six weeks, after which, the researchers took blood samples and analyzed their immune cell content. For the next step, the volunteers’ sleep was cut by 90 minutes each night for six weeks. Once again, the researchers took blood samples and summed up the number of immune cells.
When Swirsky and his colleagues compared data from the two sets of blood samples, they found an increase in the number of immune cells after six weeks of sleep restriction. An earlier animal study found an increase in inflammation as the number of immune cells increased.
In addition, the stem cells that give rise to immune cells were transformed as a result of six weeks of short sleep. While their basic DNA coding remained the same, the programming that controlled which bits of genetic material would be turned on and off –a process known as epigenetics – was replaced.
Although the number of immune cells may return to normal after weeks, there appears to be a more permanent scar on the stem cells. Swirsky said the kind of scars on the body that can become larger from repeated injuries, the scars can be enlarged if more bouts of restricted sleep.
Those scars on stem cells go through a series of steps, eventually leading to less diversity among immune cells. Low diversity means that some jobs cannot be done while others are being completed, Swirsky explained. So, the immune system works less well, something in such a way that home construction would not be as successful if the building crew had carpenters but no plumbers.
How sleep deprivation affects our age
The changes observed by Mount Sinai researchers in the mirror of the experiments what happens as humans age,
“As a natural consequence of aging, we lose diversity,” Swirsky said. “By disrupting sleep, we are accelerating the aging process.”
“The real key is that there are things we can do through lifestyle — getting enough sleep, managing stress, getting enough exercise, eating a healthy diet — that can slow biological aging.” Swirsky said. “We may not live forever, but we can live well into old age while maintaining our quality of life by paying attention to certain lifestyle factors.”
While it was known from clinical observations that chronic sleep deprivation can debilitate the body immune systemThe new study provides a mechanism to explain how this happens, said Dr., director of the Institute of Vascular Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Stephen Chan said.
This shows that you can’t spoil yourself during the week and compensate for it on the weekend.
Kristen Knutson, Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine
“We basically didn’t understand why, at the cellular level, sleep was so important in the control of the immune system,” he said. “It’s really important to understand how sleep can affect inflammatory diseases like sepsis, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and Dementia,
Scientists have expressed hope that it was possible to catch up on poor sleep and get back to normal.
“It turns out that’s not true,” Chan said. “We knew years later that there was an association between sleep and the development of dementia. This may be the explanation.”
He hopes that there will be more studies that will look at whether the effects of poor sleep habits are permanent.
“This study deserves a lot of follow-up to see how sustainable the effects are,” Chan said. “Will they last for years, or decades, or only months?”
The new study is “elegant,” said Kristen Knutson, an associate professor in the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.
“They emphasize the long-term effects of sleep loss that we don’t recover quickly and they have shown this in both animal and human studies,” she said. “It shows that you can’t run yourself ragged during the week and compensate for it on the weekend.”
When you say immune system, people just think of infectious diseases, Knutson said.
“But it plays a big role in many other health conditions,” she said. “Anything that impairs the immune system can have far-reaching effects.”