The immune system is built to counteract unpredictable threats, yet it relies on predictable cycles of activity to function properly. Daily rhythms in immune function are an expanding area of study, and many originate from a genetically based timekeeping mechanism known as the circadian clock. The challenge is how to harness these biological rhythms to improve medical interventions. Here, we review recent literature documenting how circadian clocks organize fundamental innate and adaptive immune activities, the immunologic consequences of circadian rhythm and sleep disruption, and persisting knowledge gaps in the field. We then consider the evidence linking circadian rhythms to vaccination, an important clinical realization of immune function. Finally, we discuss practical steps to translate circadian immunity to the patient’s bedside.
Huram Mok, Elaine Ostendorf, Alex Ganninger, Avi J. Adler, Guy Hazan, Jeffrey A. Haspel
The oscillator model of circadian rhythm generation.