New research explains how our body clock influences vaccine responses – ScienceDaily

Research by the RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences has provided new insights into the mechanism behind how our 24-hour circadian body clock influences our immune response to vaccines, depending on the time of day.

paper published in Nature Communication studied changes in the mitochondria of a key immune cell involved in the vaccine response and may help improve the design and timing of administration of future vaccines to maximize efficacy.

Previously, people were found to be more responsive to certain vaccines depending on the time of day the vaccine was administered, but the reason for this was not fully understood. This research revealed that our circadian clock changes the shape of mitochondria within dendritic cells. Variations in mitochondria structure affect how well dendritic cells function throughout the day.

Study author Professor Annie Curtis, from the RCSI School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, said: “Our discovery sheds light on a crucial aspect of our body’s response to vaccination and highlights the importance of circadian rhythms in immunity. We can apply this understanding to vaccine development. To ensure we get the maximum benefit from the vaccine. “

The circadian clock in dendritic cells controls whether mitochondria form one of two shapes, such as long strings, ‘networked’, or segmented into small dotted segments. It is in the networked formation that vaccination is most effective, as dendritic cells have a better ability to break up the vaccine into smaller fragments to interact with our immune cells (T cells). In the study, the researchers used an approach to initiate the network phase, which could have implications for vaccine design, allowing us to optimize our immune response regardless of the time of day.

Much of this work was supported by funding from the Irish Research Council through the Laureate Award and the Science Foundation Ireland Career Development Award (CDA) program through the RCSI Strategic Academic Recruitment Program (StAR) award. Further support was provided by a Conacyt grant, an SFI Researcher Award and a European Research Council Consolidator Award.

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