Effect of sleep deprivation on the corticosterone secretion in an experimental model of autoimmune disease

Neuroimmunomodulation. 2007;14(2):72-7. doi: 10.1159/000107421. Epub 2007 Aug 21.


Objective: Sleep disturbances have been observed in a number of chronic inflammatory conditions, such as systemic lupus erythematosus. Previous results from our laboratory showed that when NZB/NZWF1 mice, an experimental model of lupus, are submitted to sleep deprivation (SD), they exhibit an earlier onset of the disease. Sleep disturbances have far-reaching effects on the endocrine and immune system, changes that may be linked to disease manifestation. Immunoendocrine communication via the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis has been proposed as an important modulatory factor for the development of autoimmune disease. We hypothesized here that corticosterone (CORT) could be involved in earlier onset of the disease in sleep-deprived NZB/NZWF1 mice.

Methods: The profile of CORT secretion was measured immediately after the end of SD (platform method) and during the development of the disease. Also, we analyzed the effects of SD on CORT secretion of Swiss albino mice, which do not present immune alterations.

Results: The results showed that NZB/NZWF1 mice exhibited a CORT response to SD similar to Swiss albino mice. However, CORT levels remained elevated throughout the whole period of evaluation. There was an increase in circulating levels of CORT in the NZB/NZWF1 mice as the disease progressed, but this effect was more evident in the sleep-deprived mice.

Conclusion: According to these results, we suggest that elevated CORT levels are involved in the earlier onset of the disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Corticosterone / blood
  • Corticosterone / metabolism*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiopathology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / blood
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / physiopathology
  • Mice
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiopathology
  • Sleep Deprivation / blood
  • Sleep Deprivation / complications*
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiopathology


  • Corticosterone