Sleep Med Psychophysiol.  2005 Dec;12(2):87-92.

Sleep and Cytokine

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Yongin Mental Hospital, 4 Sangha-dong, Guseong-gu, Yongin, Korea.


Cytokines are the main regulatory molecules of not only immune system but also sleep system. Research on the role of cytokines on sleep has greatly been expanding since the first report of sleep-promoting effects of interleukin-1, the first cytokine molecule. Interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor are most widely studied among various cytokines. Studies over about twenty years demonstrate that most cytokines promote sleep but several cytokines inhibit sleep. Slow wave sleep is the main part that cytokines have effects on. Besides normal sleep physiology, cytokines have more major roles on pathophysiology of various sleep disorders. Obstructive sleep apnea is the representative sleep disorder that shows how deeply cytokines are involved in their pathophysiologic mechanisms of sleep disorders. Though there are many controversial issues on this topic, more mysterious part of normal sleep physiology and sleep disorders will be revealed in near future through thorough studies on sleep and cytokine.


Sleep; Cytokine
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