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Is immune system linked to the body clock?
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It's too early to tell if the body clock governs human immunity
“Not sleeping enough can damage your immune system and make you ill,” according to the Daily Mail.
This somewhat sweeping statement is based purely on an animal study looking at how mice body clocks affected their immune systems.
The study found that levels of an infection-detecting protein called TLR9 fluctuated throughout the day and that the exact level of this protein influenced how effective a vaccine was in mice.
Differences between man and mouse mean more research will be needed to determine if these findings apply to humans.
If they do, then it may be possible that certain vaccinations could be administered at specific times in the day to make them more effective.
However, this approach would need to be tested in humans to be sure that it actually made a meaningful difference to the effectiveness of the vaccines.
The immune system is a complex area, and while this research shed some light on one aspect of the body’s immunity and its ties to the body clock, there’s still much to learn.
The study was carried out by researchers from Yale University School of Medicine and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the US.
It was funded by the US National Institutes of Health and published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Immunity.