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Sleep disruption and its effect on lymphocyte redeployment following an acute bout of exercise
  Sleep disruption and deprivation are common in contemporary society and have been linked with poor health, decreased job performance and increased life-stress. The rapid redeployment of lymphocytes between the blood and tissues is an archetypal feature of the acute stress response, but it is not known if short-term perturbations in sleep architecture affect lymphocyte redeployment. We examined the effects of a disrupted night sleep on the exercise-induced redeployment of lymphocytes and their subtypes. 10 healthy male cyclists performed 1 h of cycling at a fixed power output on an indoor cycle ergometer, following a night of undisrupted sleep (US) or a night of disrupted sleep (DS). Blood was collected before, immediately after and 1 h after exercise completion. Lymphocytes and their subtypes were enumerated using direct immunofluorescence assays and 4-colour flow cytometry. DS was associated with elevated concentrations of total lymphocytes and CD3−/CD56+ NK-cells. Although not affecting baseline levels, DS augmented the exercise-induced redeployment of CD8+ T-cells, with the naïve/early differentiated subtypes (KLRG1−/CD45RA+) being affected most. While the mobilisation of cytotoxic lymphocyte subsets (NK cells, CD8+ T-cells γδ T-cells), tended to be larger in response to exercise following DS, their enhanced egress at 1 h post-exercise was more marked. This occurred despite similar serum cortisol and catecholamine levels between the US and DS trials. NK-cells redeployed with exercise after DS retained their expression of perforin and Granzyme-B indicating that DS did not affect NK-cell ‘arming’. Our findings indicate that short-term changes in sleep architecture may ‘prime’ the immune system and cause minor enhancements in lymphocyte trafficking in response to acute dynamic exercise.

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  • Date:

    09 January 2015

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  • Library of Congress:

    RC1200 Sports Medicine

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    613 Personal health & safety


Florida-James, G. D., Ingram, L. A., Simpson, R. J., Malone, E., & Florida-James, G. (2015). Sleep disruption and its effect on lymphocyte redeployment following an acute bout of exercise. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 47, 100-108.



Sleep disruption; sleep deprivation; Cytotoxic lymphocytes; immune system;

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