Sleep enhances IL-6 trans-signaling in humans

Stoyan Dimitrov, Tanja Lange, Christian Benedict, Mari A. Nowell, Simon A. Jones, Jürgen Scheller, Stefan Rose-John, Jan Born*

*Corresponding author for this work
73 Citations (Scopus)


Sleep is commonly considered to support immune defense. The underlying sleep-immune interaction appears to rely critically on cytokines, like interleukin-6 (IL-6), that combine effects on immune and neuronal functions. The IL-6 signal is conveyed in two ways: it stimulates a restricted group of (mostly immune) cells via membrane-bound IL-6 receptors (mIL-6R) by forming a complex with soluble IL-6R (sIL-6R), and it stimulates (via membrane-bound gp130) a great variety of other cell types - a process termed trans-signaling. Focusing on the receptor side of IL-6 signaling, we examined the effect of sleep on sIL-6R plasma concentrations, mIL-6R expression, plasma sgp130, and numbers of IL-6-producing monocytes in healthy humans who were tested during a regular sleep-wake cycle and 24 h of wakefulness while blood was sampled repeatedly. Sleep strongly enhanced concentrations of sIL-6R, exceeding wake levels by 70% at the end of sleep. This rise was due to an increase in the PC (proteolytic cleavage) rather than the DS (differentially spliced) variant of sIL-6R. Sleep did not affect IL-6-producing monocytes, mIL-6R density, or sgp130 concentrations. The selective increase in sIL-6R implicates an enhanced trans-signaling capacity whereby sleep distinctly widens the profile of IL-6 actions, enabling an integrated influence on brain and peripheral organs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)E1599-E1609
Publication statusPublished - 10.2006


Dive into the research topics of 'Sleep enhances IL-6 trans-signaling in humans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this