Gut inflammation and conditions involving the immune system were common among people who could not have a regular sleep pattern. A research carried out in mice has been able to explain the mechanism to explain this connection.
This mechanism deals with ILC3sor group3 innate lymphoid cells. These are strong in controlling inflammation, metabolism and various biological processes. It was explained in Nature paper how mice were used by the scientists for understanding ILC3’s role in the guts.
Henrique Veiga-Fernandes, the senior study author said that important functions of the cells are fulfilled by these cells like fighting infection, instructing lipid absorption and controlling integrity of gut epithelium. He said that altered sleep patterns or sleep deprivation could lead to serious consequences which can lead to diseases which have immune component like bowel-inflammatory conditions. It was found that people who work long time in night shifts are at a high risk of ulcers, cancers, obesity, gastrointestinal conditions and metabolic illnesses. It was found by the team that ILC3s are sensitive to changes in clock genes which control the rhythmic cell processes. They also found a circuit linking the circadian clock in brain to the ILC3s in gut.
Disruptions to the circuit can cause alterations in the clock genes of ILC3. These changes in genes can impair the ability of the immune cells in regulating gut health. The 24 hour clock in the brains of the mice was disrupted to demonstrate this. There are clock genes in all cells of the body which helps in following the 24 hour cycle. Since the clock circuitry in brain is external light sensitive, connection with the clock genes in the remaining parts of the body helps in synching body functions with day-night cycles. It was found that disruption of the clock genes of the ILC3s reduced their presence in gut.
Disruption of the circadian circuit of the brain stops important signal from reaching the clock genes of ILC3. The protein which tells the transient ILC3 cells where it should migrate is affected due to loss of signal. The team expressed their excitement in explaining why those who stay active at night are more prone to inflammatory diseases and have poor gut health.
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