Sleep fights inflammation and atherosclerosis in mice
Better go to sleep right away.
BOSTON — A new study published in the journal Nature has found that getting adequate sleep can help by reducing inflammation in the body and fighting against atherosclerosis.
According to Live Science, the study found that fragmented sleep in mice affects levels of a certain hormone, which then increases production of inflammatory cells in the bone marrow. This inflammation plays a role in the development of atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a condition where plaques made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances build up inside arteries.
The new study looked at mice that were genetically prone to atherosclerosis. Some of the mice were allowed to get adequate sleep, while another group's sleep was frequently interrupted by a "sweep bar" that automatically swept across the bottom of the cage.
The scientists found the sleep-deprived mice had larger arterial plaques and higher levels of inflammation in their blood vessels compared with the sleep-sufficient mice.
Researchers also discovered sleep-deprived mice had lower levels of the hormone hypocretin, which led to an increase in the levels of the signalling protein CSF1. This in turn increased production of inflammatory white blood cells in the bone marrow and accelerated atherosclerosis.
The team found that by restoring hypocretin levels in the mice reduced atherosclerosis.
According to study senior author Filip Swirski, of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Systems Biology, "we have discovered that sleep helps regulate the production… of inflammatory cells and the health of blood vessels and that, conversely, sleep disruption breaks down control of inflammatory cell production, leading to more inflammation and heart disease."
The next step will be for researchers to see if the results can be replicated in humans.
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