MADRID, 13 February (EUROPA PRESS) –
Researchers in Germany have found why sleep can sometimes be the best medicine. Sleep improves the potential capacity of some of the immune cells of the body to join their goals, according to a new study published Tuesday in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. The work, led by Stoyan Dimitrov and Luciana Besedovski of the University of Tübingen, Germany, helps explain how sleep can fight infection, while other conditions, such as chronic stress, can make the body more susceptible to infection. pathologies.
T cells are a kind of white blood cells that are critical to the immune response of the body. When T cells recognize a specific target, such as a virus infected cell, they activate sticky proteins known as integrins that allow them to bind to their target and, in the case of a virus-infected cell, kill it. Although much is known about signals that activate integrins, signals that can reduce the ability of T cells to bind to their targets are less well known.
Stoyan Dimitrov and his colleagues from the University of Tubingen decided to investigate the effects of a diverse group of signal molecules known as gas-associated receptor agonists. Many of these molecules may suppress the immune system, but it is not known whether they inhibit the ability of T cells to activate their integrins and to bind to the target cells.
Dimitrov and colleagues found that some of the gas-associated receptor agonists, including the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline, prostaglandin E2 and D2 and neuromodulatory adenosine, prevent T cells from activating their integrins after recognizing their target. "The levels of these molecules required to inhibit integrin activation are observed in many pathological conditions such as tumor growth, malaria infection, hypoxia and stress," Dimitrov says. therefore, contribute to the immunological suppression associated with these pathologies. "
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The levels of adrenaline and prostaglandin decrease as the body falls asleep. Dimitrov and his colleagues compared T-cells taken by healthy volunteers as they slept or stayed all night. T-cells taken from sleeping volunteers show significantly higher levels of integrin activation than T-cells taken from awake subjects. Scientists were able to confirm that the beneficial effect of sleep on T-cell integrin activation was due to the decrease in activation of the G? -Related receptor.
"Our findings suggest that sleep has the potential to improve the effectiveness of T-cell responses, which is particularly important in view of the high incidence of sleep disorders and sleep conditions characterized by sleep disorders such as depression, chronic stress, aging and shift work, "says another member of the team, Dr. Luciana Besedovski.
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 can stimulate the development of new therapeutic strategies that improve the ability of T cells to adhere to their goals. This may be useful, for example, for cancer immunotherapy, where T cells are required for attack and killing of tumor cells.