Institute of Medical Psychology

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Sleep and Immunology-Besedovsky Lab

Prof. Dr. Luciana Besedovsky


Sleep is a fundamental but still mysterious physiological state that makes up around 1/3 of our lives. Although it is quite intuitive that sleep is important to stay healthy and to recover from sickness, scientific evidence for these notions is surprisingly scarce. In our group, we aim to scrutinize the role of sleep for human health in general and for the immune system in particular. We are especially interested to study how sleep modulates the development of immunological memory, e.g., after vaccination. We also investigate the underlying mechanisms of the influence of sleep on the immune system and focus hereby on the role of various mediators, such as hormones, that are released in a sleep-dependent fashion. Furthermore, we explore methods to enhance sleep in order to foster its effects on the endocrine and immune systems. We mainly perform highly controlled experimental studies in humans and also include circadian aspects in our research.

Selected publications:

Besedovsky, L., Benischke, M., Fischer, S., Yazdi, A.S., & Born, J. (2020). Human sleep consolidates allergic responses conditioned to the environmental context of an allergen exposure. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 117, 10983-10988.

Dimitrov, S., Lange, T., Gouttefangeas, C., Jensen, A. T. R., Szczepanski, M., Lehnnolz, J., Soekadar, S., Rammensee, H.G., Born, J., Besedovsky, L. (2019). Gαs-coupled receptor signaling and sleep regulate integrin activation of human antigen-specific T cells. J Exp Med, 216, 517-526.

Besedovsky, L., Lange, T., Haack, M. (2019). The sleep-immune crosstalk in health and disease. Physiol Rev, 99, 1325-1380.

Besedovsky, L., Ngo, H.V., Dimitrov, S., Gassenmaier, C., Lehmann, R., Born, J. (2017). Auditory closed-loop stimulation of EEG slow oscillations strengthens sleep and signs of its immune-supportive function. Nat Commun., 8, 1984.

Besedovsky, L., Born, J., Lange, T. (2014). Endogenous glucocorticoid receptor signaling drives rhythmic changes in human T-cell subset numbers and the expression of the chemokine receptor CXCR4. FASEB J., 28, 67-75.

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