Behçet's UK
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Time of Day Affects Severity of Autoimmune Disease

I thought our marvellous Behçet’s community would appreciate sight of the following research, all helping to add to the 'body of knowledge'. Some of the full article confuses me, so don't let that put you off if you find the same! Certainly, I think it has particular relevance regarding consideration as to the timing of medication, and recording what is 'going on' and when; as the summary below mentions.

Article Summary.

Insights into how the body clock and time of day influence immune responses are revealed today in a study published in leading international journal Nature Communications. Understanding the effect of the interplay between 24-hour day-night cycles and the immune system may help inform drug-targeting strategies to alleviate autoimmune disease.

[The full article available at]

Circadian rhythms or 24-hour rhythms are generated by the body clock, allowing us to anticipate and respond to the 24-hour cycle of our planet. Maintaining a good body clock is generally believed to lead to good health for humans, and disrupting the circadian rhythm (for example, working night shifts) has been associated with immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis; however, the underlying molecular links have been unclear.

In the new study, Professor Kingston Mills and Dr Caroline Sutton of Trinity College Dublin, and Dr Annie Curtis of RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons Ireland), and colleagues show that immune responses and regulation of autoimmunity are affected by the time of the day when the immune response is activated.

Using mice as a model organism, they show that a master circadian gene, BMAL1, is responsible for sensing and acting on time-of-the-day cues to suppress inflammation. Loss of BMAL1, or induction of autoimmunity at midday instead of midnight, causes more severe experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, which is essentially an analogue of multiple sclerosis in mice.

Professor of Experimental Immunology at Trinity, Kingston Mills, said: "In the year that the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded for discoveries on the molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm, our exciting findings suggest that our immune system is programmed to respond better to infection and insults encountered at different times in the 24-hour clock. This has significant implications for the treatment of immune-mediated diseases and suggests there may be important differences in time of day response to drugs used to treat autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis."

Although further investigations are needed to understand how to precisely modulate circadian rhythm or time-of-the-day cues for beneficial immunity, the findings in this article serve well to remind us the importance of 'keeping the time' when dealing with the immune system.

Research Lecturer in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics at RCSI, Dr Annie Curtis, said: "Our study also shows how disruption of our body clocks, which is quite common now given our 24/7 lifestyle and erratic eating and sleeping patterns, may have an impact on autoimmune conditions."

"We are really beginning to uncover exactly how important our body clocks are for health and wellbeing."



Behçet’s Syndrome Society

2 Replies

what a great post. for sure- fighting natural rhythm will def cause discordance in our lives. i love the point they make in the summary about 24/7 lifestyles... quality of sleep, and diet for sure affect it. People often dont account for basic necessities and how they affect very small and large aspects.

Ive read many articles sort of related about how our circadian rhythm can be disrupted over the course a of a few days with no relative factors helping, time clocks , sun, schedule.

I myself generally do not perk up until after 6pm. been this way for years. I seem to have unfathomable amount of energy towards the end of the day. I am practically dead until then. since being on keto diet, getting up in the morning has been easier.... but im still a "night owl."

1 like

That is very interesting. I was told years ago by quite a famous neurologist here in Australia that one way of controlling migraines is to go to bed and get up at the same time (even on weekends). I guess that vaguely falls into the same realms. Actually trying to control the symptoms of BD I’ve tried to stick to a routine.


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