TNF-alpha suppresses the expression of clock genes by interfering with E-box mediated transciption
In case you’re confused by this title, don’t worry–so am I. But the take home message from this mouse study is that TNF-alpha, a cytokine that produces inflammation in the body, interferes with the body’s sleep wake cycle, produces fatigue.
Fatigue is a very common complaint for patients presenting to their PCP. Unfortunately, the evaluation of fatigue in the typical doctors’ office does not extend beyond looking for anemia and checking the thyroid. Yet, these two problems don’t scrape the surface of what creates fatigue. Adrenal issues need to be looked at, and, as we see in this study, inflammation is a major player as well.