Systemic immune parameters and sleep after ultra-low dose administration of IL-2 in healthy men

Tanja Lange, Lisa Marshall, Ernst Späth-Schwalbe, Horst Lorenz Fehm, Jan Born*

*Korrespondierende/r Autor/-in für diese Arbeit
16 Zitate (Scopus)


A somnogenic function is suspected for various cytokines. Foregoing experiments in humans indicated a selective increase in the production of interleukin-2 (IL-2) during sleep as compared with nocturnal wakefulness. Here, we examined whether conversely, IL-2 exerts a promoting influence on sleep. Also, the effects of IL-2 administered at ultra-low doses on systemic immune and endocrine parameters were assessed. Eighteen healthy men participated in three night sessions, receiving subcutaneously at 19:00 h either placebo or recombinant human IL-2 at doses of 1000 and 10,000 IU/kg bw. Polysomnographical recordings were obtained between 23:00 and 07:00 h. Blood was collected repeatedly to determine (i) white blood cell (WBC) counts including the enumeration of monocytes, natural killer (NK) cells, and lymphocyte subsets, (ii) serum concentrations of IL-2, soluble IL-2 receptor (sIL-2r), IL-4, IL-6, and interferon-γ (IFN-γ), and (iii) concentrations of adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), cortisol, thyreotropin (TSH), and growth hormone (GH). Changes after 1000 IU/kg bw IL-2 generally remained non-significant. However, distinct effects occurred after 10,000 IU/kg bw IL-2, inducing serum IL-2 concentrations selectively activating the high affinity IL-2 receptor. At this dose, IL-2 reduced the number of circulating lymphocytes (including all major subtypes) and NK cells, while counts of monocytes and neutrophils were increased. IL-4 release was stimulated and IFN-γ concentration reduced after IL-2. Also, IL-2 increased the TSH concentration. There were no hints at a sleep promoting effect of IL-2. Immune changes suggest that nocturnal IL-2 administration induces a shift towards Th2 mediated defense.

ZeitschriftBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Seiten (von - bis)663-674
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2002


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