MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Cameron S. McAlpine, Ph.D.
Banting Postdoctoral Fellow
Center for Systems Biology
Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA, 02114
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Cardiovascular disease is caused by the build up of white blood cells and fat in arteries. We have known for a long time that poor sleep is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. A number of human observational studies have found this correlation. However, the reasons for this correlation have been largely unknown.
Our study, performed in mice, provides one possible explanation. We found that when we disturbed the sleep of mice they produced more inflammatory white blood cells. These cells caused larger lesions in their arteries and more advanced cardiovascular disease.
We found that his phenomenon is controlled by a hormone produced in the brain that normally suppresses the production of white blood cells. When mice have their sleep disturbed this pathway breakdown causing the increased production of white blood cells.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Our report provides one of likely many reasons why sleep helps protect against cardiovascular disease.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: This study was performed in mice. Our findings need to be replicated in humans. The next steps will be to investigate this pathway in a cohort of people with disturbed sleep.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: Sleep is good for your health, including your heart!
Sleep modulates hematopoiesis and protects against atherosclerosis. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-0948-2
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