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Sleep and immune function: glial contributions and consequences of aging.


The reciprocal interactions between sleep and immune function are well-studied. Insufficient sleep induces innate immune responses as evidenced by increased expression of pro-inflammatory mediators in the brain and periphery. Conversely, immune challenges upregulate immunomodulator expression, which alters central nervous system-mediated processes and behaviors, including sleep. Recent studies indicate that glial cells, namely microglia and astrocytes, are active contributors to sleep and immune system interactions. Evidence suggests glial regulation of these interactions is mediated, in part, by adenosine and adenosine 5'-triphosphate actions at purinergic type 1 and type 2 receptors. Furthermore, microglia and astrocytes may modulate declines in sleep-wake behavior and immunity observed in aging.