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Nature: Sleep Deprivation Has a Great Impact on Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation in Mice

A recent study led by the Stanford University School of Medicine shows that a lack of sleep has serious implications for stem cell function. If marrow transplant donor is lack of sleep, transplant efficiency will be greatly reduced.

Bone marrow transplantation is also known as hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, a process that is affected by many factors. Until now people still know little about this. The researchers found that mice deprived of sleep for four hours would make its regenerative capacity of stem cells reduced by more than half. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, has brought important revelation for human bone marrow transplantation.

"Considering how little attention we typically pay to sleep in the hospital setting, this finding is troubling," said Dr. Asya Rolls, first author of the paper. "We go to all this trouble to find a matching donor, but this research suggests that if the donor is not well-rested it can impact the outcome of the transplantation. However, it's heartening to think that this is not an insurmountable obstacle; a short period of recovery sleep before transplant can restore the donor's cells' ability to function normally."

The mice were divided into two groups, and one group performed four hours of sleep deprivation, while another group slept normally. Then they injected the bone marrow of these mice separately to the mice that had received lethal radiation. In order to quantitatively assess the donor stem cells, researchers also injected recipient mice with autologous bone marrow cells (collected before radiation).

The researchers found that stem cells of well-rested mice generated 26% of myeloid cells in the recipient mice, and that of drowsy mice generated only 12%. Twelve hours after the transplant, 3.3% of stem cells from well-rest donor were migrated to the bone marrow of the recipient, while only 1.7% of stem cells from sleepy mice.

Further study showed that hematopoietic stem cells from from the sleep-deprived mice, responded less strongly than their peers to naturally occurring chemical signals that trigger cellular migration. Their stem cells also had relatively low level of miR-19b, which controls the expression of SOC, a protein that inhibits the migration of hematopoietic stem cells.

While sleep deprivation had great influence on stem cells, but this effect could also be reversed by letting the mice make up a sleep. This research indicated that two hours of restorative sleep could make stem cell of the mice function normally in the transplantation tests.

Although the research was conducted in laboratory mice, the findings have possible influence on human stem cell transplantation. Each year thousands of bone marrow transplantation, or, more correctly known as hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, are performed to rescue patients with the immune system disorders or cancers.


Sleep disruption impairs haematopoietic stem cell transplantation in mice. Nature Communications.

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