Changes in body clock may increase infection risk
Disrupting the human body’s circadian clock may have negative consequences for the immune system, according to a new study.
Researchers have found that the circadian clock controls the number of inflammatory cells, which could scientists develop new ways to boost the body’s immune response to certain infections.
In the study, published in the journal Science, researchers used a mouse model to analyze the link between the circadian clock and the number of inflammatory cells in the model’s intestines.
The study showed that when the normal day-light cycles of mice were disrupted, inflammatory cells accumulated in excess amounts in the intestines. Too many inflammatory cells can contribute to inflammatory diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)—a disease which afflicts about 600,000 Americans each year, researchers said.
The findings suggest that the interactions between the circadian clock and the pathways that regulate immune cell development may help researchers develop treatments for inflammatory diseases.