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Study Shows Immune System Strongest at Night

According to a new study done on fruit flies, the body’s immune system works hardest during the night, while at its lowest during the day.

Researchers at Stanford University wanted to show a link between innate immunity and circadian rhythm.

They used fruit flies and infected them with two different bacterias, Listeria monocytogenes and Streptococcus pneumoniae. Researchers conducted these studies at different times throughout the day. Results showed that flies infected with bacteria during the night survived better than flies infected during the day.

Tests showed that the fruit flies sick with bacteria lost their circadian rhythm, which works with the body’s healthy eating and sleeping cycle. They also noted that fruit flies with no circadian rhythm were at higher risk for infections.

“These results suggest that immunity is stronger at night, consistent with the hypothesis that circadian proteins upregulate restorative functions such as specific immune responses during sleep, when animals are not engaged in metabolically costly activities,” said Mimi Shirasu-Hiza, a researcher at Stanford University.

The results of this study will be presented to the American Society for Cell Biology.

Source: Stanford Press Release

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