Sleep medicine

Self-reported sleep duration, white blood cell counts and cytokine profiles in European adolescents: the HELENA study.

PMID 25156749


Sleep patterns face important changes during adolescence. This can have implications for the immune system, which is regulated by the sleep-wake cycle; however, most studies relating sleep and immune system have been conducted on adults. To study the relationships between sleep duration, immune cell counts, and cytokines in European adolescents participating in the HELENA Cross-Sectional Study. Adolescents (12.5-17.5 years; n = 933; 53.9% girls) were grouped according to self-reported sleep duration into <8, 8-8.9 and ≥9 h/night. Blood samples were collected in the morning after an overnight fast to analyze counts of white blood cells (WBC), neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, basophils, the lymphocyte subsets CD3(+), CD4(+), CD8(+), CD45RA(+), CD45RO(+), CD3(-)CD16(+)56(+) and CD19(+), and concentrations of cortisol, CRP, IL-1, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, TNF-α and IFN-γ. Pro-/anti-inflammatory and Th1/Th2 cytokine ratios were calculated. Immune parameters were correlated to sleep duration and compared between the three groups. Sleep duration was negatively associated with cortisol levels and WBC, neutrophil, monocyte, CD4(+) and CD4(+)CD45RO(+) counts; in girls it is also negatively associated with IL-5 and IL-6 levels. The 8-8.9 h/night group presented the highest IL-4 values and the lowest pro-/anti-inflammatory and Th1/Th2 cytokine ratios. A sleep duration of 8-8.9 h/night was associated with a healthier immune profile in our adolescents.