Sleep promotes T-cell migration towards CCL19 via growth hormone and prolactin signaling in humans

Estefanía Martínez-Albert, Nicolas D Lutz, Robert Hübener, Stoyan Dimitrov, Tanja Lange, Jan Born, Luciana Besedovsky


Sleep strongly supports the formation of adaptive immunity, e.g., after vaccination. However, the underlying mechanisms remain largely obscure. Here we show in healthy humans that sleep compared to nocturnal wakefulness specifically promotes the migration of various T-cell subsets towards the chemokine CCL19, which is essential for lymph-node homing and, thus, for the initiation and maintenance of adaptive immune responses. Migration towards the inflammatory chemokine CCL5 remained unaffected. Incubating the cells with plasma from sleeping participants likewise increased CCL19-directed migration, an effect that was dependent on growth hormone and prolactin signaling. These findings show that sleep selectively promotes the lymph node homing potential of T cells by increasing hormonal release, and thus reveal a causal mechanism underlying the supporting effect of sleep on adaptive immunity in humans.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Pages (from-to)69-77
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 02.2024

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 204-05 Immunology

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