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J Immunol. 2011 Jul 1;187(1):283-90. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1100015. Epub 2011 Jun 1.

Sleep after vaccination boosts immunological memory.

Author information

  • 1Department of Neuroendocrinology, University of Lübeck, 23538 Lübeck, Germany. lange@kfg.uni-luebeck.de

Abstract

Sleep regulates immune functions. We asked whether sleep can influence immunological memory formation. Twenty-seven healthy men were vaccinated against hepatitis A three times, at weeks 0, 8, and 16 with conditions of sleep versus wakefulness in the following night. Sleep was recorded polysomnographically, and hormone levels were assessed throughout the night. Vaccination-induced Th cell and Ab responses were repeatedly monitored for 1 y. Compared with the wake condition, sleep after vaccination doubled the frequency of Ag-specific Th cells and increased the fraction of Th1 cytokine-producing cells in this population. Moreover, sleep markedly increased Ag-specific IgG1. The effects were followed up for 1 y and were associated with high sleep slow-wave activity during the postvaccination night as well as with accompanying levels of immunoregulatory hormones (i.e., increased growth hormone and prolactin but decreased cortisol release). Our findings provide novel evidence that sleep promotes human Th1 immune responses, implicating a critical role for slow-wave sleep in this process. The proinflammatory milieu induced during this sleep stage apparently acts as adjuvant that facilitates the transfer of antigenic information from APCs to Ag-specific Th cells. Like the nervous system, the immune system takes advantage of the offline conditions during sleep to foster adaptive immune responses resulting in improved immunological memory.

PMID:
21632713
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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