Our susceptibility and vulnerability to diseases may be influenced if the body clock is interrupted since its disruption affects the immune system to quite an extent. The metabolism, sleeping behavior and similarly related body functions of the human body are regulated by the body clock or in the other words by the circadian clock which is nothing but a perfectly tuned genetic mechanism. A recent research carried by the Yale School of Medicine in theUSexplains how deeply the immune system is related to this clock which controls the 24 hour cycle of the varied body functions. The journal named ‘Immunity’ published this study recently.
The research was conducted on a little mice in a laboratory and it was found that the circadian clock of the mice’s body controls the activity of Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR-9), an important gene in the immune system that reacts to the presence of DNA from bacteria and viruses. The mice’s ability to resist infections as well as its’ immune system’s response to the vaccination was highest when the expression levels of TLR-9 were at their peak point. According to Dr. Erol Fikrig, a professor of epidemiology and microbial pathogenesis at Yale and his fellow colleagues, the results of this research suggest a similar behavior in human beings.
Thus if the findings of the study are to be believed then it can be said that in humans, if the circadian clock gets disrupted then it makes the body more vulnerable to infections and diseases. According to the study an illness can even be a result of jet lag and to get vaccinated there may be good and bad times of the day and the researchers also believe that since septic human patients are more likely to die between 2 and 6 am, this study could be significant clinically.
As per the study not only a direct molecular link between the body clock and the immune system has been developed but even a new viewpoint regarding the actual working of the immune system has been brought into the limelight and all this can have positive implications in the treatment and prevention of diseases. Advocating the needs and the benefits of this study Dr. Fikrig said, “It will be important to investigate how factors like disruption of sleeping patterns etc… influence immune system response and it appears that disruptions of the circadian clock influence our susceptibility to pathogens”.