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Crosstalk between the circadian clock circuitry and the immune system

Nicolas Cermakian, Tanja Lange, Diego Golombek, Dipak Sarkar, Atsuhito Nakao, Shigenobu Shibata, Gianluigi Mazzoccoli
Chronobiology International 2013, 30 (7): 870-88
23697902
Various features, components, and functions of the immune system present daily variations. Immunocompetent cell counts and cytokine levels present variations according to the time of day and the sleep-wake cycle. Moreover, different immune cell types, such as macrophages, natural killer cells, and lymphocytes, contain a circadian molecular clockwork. The biological clocks intrinsic to immune cells and lymphoid organs, together with inputs from the central pacemaker of the suprachiasmatic nuclei via humoral and neural pathways, regulate the function of cells of the immune system, including their response to signals and their effector functions. Consequences of this include, for example, the daily variation in the response to an immune challenge (e.g., bacterial endotoxin injection) and the circadian control of allergic reactions. The circadian-immune connection is bidirectional, because in addition to this circadian control of immune functions, immune challenges and immune mediators (e.g., cytokines) were shown to have strong effects on circadian rhythms at the molecular, cellular, and behavioral levels. This tight crosstalk between the circadian and immune systems has wide-ranging implications for disease, as shown by the higher incidence of cancer and the exacerbation of autoimmune symptoms upon circadian disruption.

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