Author(s): Dimitrov S, Benedict C, Heutling D, Westermann J, Born J,
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Abstract Pronounced circadian rhythms in numbers of circulating T cells reflect a systemic control of adaptive immunity whose mechanisms are obscure. Here, we show that circadian variations in T cell subpopulations in human blood are differentially regulated via release of cortisol and catecholamines. Within the CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell subsets, naive cells show pronounced circadian rhythms with a daytime nadir, whereas (terminally differentiated) effector CD8(+) T cell counts peak during daytime. Naive T cells were negatively correlated with cortisol rhythms, decreased after low-dose cortisol infusion, and showed highest expression of CXCR4, which was up-regulated by cortisol. Effector CD8(+) T cells were positively correlated with epinephrine rhythms, increased after low-dose epinephrine infusion, and showed highest expression of beta-adrenergic and fractalkine receptors (CX3CR1). Daytime increases in cortisol via CXCR4 probably act to redistribute naive T cells to bone marrow, whereas daytime increases in catecholamines via beta-adrenoceptors and, possibly, a suppression of fractalkine signaling promote mobilization of effector CD8(+) T cells from the marginal pool. Thus, activation of the major stress hormones during daytime favor immediate effector defense but diminish capabilities for initiating adaptive immune responses.
This article was published in Blood
and referenced in Journal of Cell Science & Therapy