Body clock disruptions affect human susceptibility to viruses

Body clock disruptions affect human susceptibility to viruses

Researchers at the Wellcome Trust-Medical Research Council Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge, have found that the time at which our body is invaded by viruses has an impact on our susceptibility to infection. Conducting a study on mice, the researchers exposed the mice to herpes virus at different times of the day and found that when the circadian rhythms of the mice were at a resting phase, they were more susceptible to the virus. This led the researchers to conclude that when a virus enters our body at a time when our body clocks are disturbed or are resting, there are higher chances of the body succumbing to an infection. This is the reason shift workers are more prone to health problems since their body clocks are constantly in flux. Moreover, it was also observed that the gene Bmal1 played a vital role in defending the body from infection. The mice lacking Bmal1 were found to have high levels of infection irrespective of the time of infection. The activity of Bmal1 changes with the season; therefore, infections spread actively during winters when Bmal1 is less active, researchers stated. These findings are likely to provide insights into new ways of defending infections.

Read more in Science Daily.