T Cells

How sleep aids recovery

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  08 Mar 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6431, pp. 1053-1054
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6431.1053-c

Sleep promotes T cell adhesion, which helps the clearance of pathogens.

PHOTO: WAVEBREAKMEDIA LTD UC25/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Sleep does wonders for our overall health. The benefits include a lower risk for heart disease, reduced stress, weight management, and improved mood. Dimitrov et al. uncover how a good night's sleep helps us heal faster from infection. T cells are immune cells that attach to invading viruses and mark them for destruction. The researchers found that integrins—the glue-like proteins used by T cells to stick to pathogens—are more activated when we sleep. In awake individuals, signaling molecules belonging to the Gαs-coupled receptor agonist family (for example, adrenaline) were produced at greater levels. These molecules have an antistick effect, inhibit integrin production, and reduce the ability of T cells to attach to invading microbes.

J. Exp. Med. 216, 517 (2019).

Navigate This Article