Researchers at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dublin, Ireland have carried out a study that has put light on the essential role that an erratic body clock has in enhancing inflammation in the body’s immune cells which leads to dire consequences for the most prevalent and severe human diseases, signifying the importance of a consistent sleep pattern. The circadian body clock is an essential aspect of the body’s daily functions wherein it generates the 24 hour rythms which helps humans to maintain their health in time with the day or night cycle. This body clock also regulates our body’s immune cells known as macrophages. But when these cell rythms are disturbed or disrupted by an erratic sleeping pattern or eating or shift work then these cells cause inflammation which can lead to diseases like cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and reduce the body’s immunity.
To carry out the research, under lab conditions macrophages were analysed with and without a body clock. They discovered that macrophages without a body clock used far more glucose and broke it down quicker than normal cells. It was also seen that in the mitochondria, the pathways in which glucose was further broken down to produce energy were extremely different in macrophages without a clock. This led to the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) which further added to inflammation. The study also shows that anything that negatively impacts on our body clocks be it insufficient sleep or inappropriate eating timings or not enough daylight can impact the immune system of our body leading to an unhealthy us. The collaborating research teams came from the RCSI School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, Swansea University, Trinity College Dublin and the University of Bristol and their study is published in Frontiers of Immunology.