How often do you find yourself struggling to maintain a strong immune system, especially when the climate takes a toll? Apart from trying a healthy diet and proper fitness regime, your body clock also plays an important part in it. A recent study that investigated Circadian rhythms, commonly referred to as the body clock, suggests that it may influence mechanisms related to immunity.
The Douglas Mental Health University Institute and the Universite de Montreal in Canada studied mice to find out whether body clocks can affect how well the immune response works. “Our study shows that T-cells are more prone to be activated at certain times of the day. Identifying the mechanisms through which the biological clock modulates the T-cell response will help us better understand the processes that regulate optimal T-cell responses,” remarked co-author Professor Nathalie Labrecque.
Body clocks also regulate other self-drive mechanisms such as hunger, sleep, breathing, heartbeat and body temperature. The study stated that the professors genetically engineered the first group by switching off specific genes that regulate circadian rhythms and left the genes naturally active in the second group. The team administered a vaccine to rodents from both these groups to trigger an immune response.
“Using a mouse vaccine model, we observed that after vaccination, the strength of the CD8 T-cell response varied according to the time of day,” commented one of the study authors, Professor Nicolas Cermakian.
The researchers suggested that circadian rhythms influence many different aspects of our internal mechanisms. However, they do not yet know the full extent to which these clocks help determine our wellbeing. Through their study, the scientists found that the CD8 T immune cells that the body uses to fight off infections and cancer tumours work with various degrees of efficiency at different times of the day. The research team reports these findings in PNAS.
“Conversely, in mice whose CD8 T-cells were deficient for the clock gene, this circadian rhythm was abolished, and response to the vaccine was diminished in the daytime,” Professor Cermakian continues.
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