Overnight changes of immune parameters and catecholamines are associated with mood and stress.

Psychosom Med. 2010 Oct;72(8):755-62. Epub 2010 Sep 14.
Overnight changes of immune parameters and catecholamines are associated with mood and stress.
Rief W, Mills PJ, Ancoli-Israel S, Ziegler MG, Pung MA, Dimsdale JE.

Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California, USA. rief@staff.uni-marburg.de

To test the hypothesis that a nocturnal decrease of secretion of inflammation markers and catecholamines would be associated with mood and stress variables even after controlling for objective sleep variables.

A total of 130 healthy volunteers participated in this study, spending 2 nights in the Gillin Laboratory of Sleep and Chronobiology at the University of California, San Diego, General Clinical Research Center. Blood samples were obtained before sleep (10:30 PM) and after awakening (6:30 AM) on the first day, and these samples were assayed for inflammatory biomarkers and catecholamines. On the second night, polysomnographic records were scored for objective sleep variables, e.g., total sleep time and wake after sleep onset. Self-rating scales for mood, stress, depression, and daily hassles were administered the second day.

The nocturnal decrease in interleukin-6 was smaller in people who reported more negative mood or fatigue and greater in those who reported more uplift events (e.g., with Profile of Mood States fatigue r(p) = -.25 to -.30). People with high stress or high depression levels had smaller nocturnal decreases of epinephrine. That relationship was even stronger when partial correlations were used to control for morning level and sleep variables. The associations between nocturnal changes of C-reactive protein, soluble tumor necrosis factor-receptor I, and norepinephrine with psychological states were nonremarkable.

The analyses of nocturnal change scores (difference scores) add substantial information compared with the traditional analyses of morning levels of immune variables and catecholamines alone. Subjective well-being is significantly associated with a greater nocturnal decrease of interleukin-6 and epinephrine. More research on nocturnal adaptation processes is warranted.

[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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