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Harvard scientists discover how sleep protects the heart

Spanish >> Science Technologies

Updated on 14/02/2019 – 09:52

Keywords:Dream, scientists, Harvard, heart

Boston, 14.02.09 ("People Online") – Lack of sleep affects blood stem cells in a way that favors the accumulation of fatty plaques in the arteries and therefore cardiovascular disease, according to a study conducted by the Harvard Medical School that the "La Vanguardia" newspaper echoes.

The key is in the hormone hypocretin (also called orexin), which is reduced in cases of lack of sleep. This hormone is secreted in the hypothalamus, an important command center located at the base of the brain that regulates vital variables such as hunger, sleep, or body temperature.

According to the results presented today in Nature online, hypokretin affects the blood stem cells located in the bone marrow. In particular, hypokretin deficiency due to sleep deprivation leads to a greater production of CSF-1 protein in the bone marrow. Increasing CSF-1 in turn leads to greater production of two types of blood cells: neutrophils and monocytes.

These two types of cells are precisely responsible for the accumulation of fatty plaques in the arteries – the so-called atheromatous plaques – which are the basis of heart attacks and emboli. "We have found that the disturbing sleep affects the production of inflammatory cells, which leads to more heart disease," said immunologist Philip Suvarsky, director of the study.

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