The impact of sleep restriction and simulated physical firefighting work on acute inflammatory stress responses

Article


Wolkow, Alexander, Ferguson, Sally A., Vincent, Grace E., Larsen, Brianna, Aisbett, Brad and Main, Luana C.. 2015. "The impact of sleep restriction and simulated physical firefighting work on acute inflammatory stress responses." PLoS One. 10 (9), pp. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0138128
Article Title

The impact of sleep restriction and simulated physical firefighting work on acute inflammatory stress responses

ERA Journal ID39745
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsWolkow, Alexander (Author), Ferguson, Sally A. (Author), Vincent, Grace E. (Author), Larsen, Brianna (Author), Aisbett, Brad (Author) and Main, Luana C. (Author)
Journal TitlePLoS One
Journal Citation10 (9), pp. 1-17
Article Numbere0138128
Number of Pages17
Year2015
PublisherPublic Library of Science (PLoS)
Place of PublicationUnited States
ISSN1932-6203
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0138128
Abstract

Objectives
This study investigated the effect restricted sleep has on wildland firefighters’ acute cytokine levels during 3 days and 2 nights of simulated physical wildfire suppression work.

Methods
Firefighters completed multiple days of physical firefighting work separated by either an 8-h (Control condition; n = 18) or 4-h (Sleep restriction condition; n = 17) sleep opportunity each night. Blood samples were collected 4 times a day (i.e., 06:15, 11:30, 18:15, 21:30) from which plasma cytokine levels (IL-6, IL-8, IL-1β, TNF-α, IL-4, IL-10) were measured.

Results
The primary findings for cytokine levels revealed a fixed effect for condition that showed higher IL-8 levels among firefighters who received an 8-h sleep each night. An interaction effect demonstrated differing increases in IL-6 over successive days of work for the SR and CON conditions. Fixed effects for time indicated that IL-6 and IL-4 levels increased, while IL-1β, TNF-α and IL-8 levels decreased. There were no significant effects for IL-10 observed.

Conclusion
Findings demonstrate increased IL-8 levels among firefighters who received an 8-h sleep when compared to those who had a restricted 4-h sleep. Firefighters’ IL-6 levels increased in both conditions which may indicate that a 4-h sleep restriction duration and/or period (i.e., 2 nights) was not a significant enough stressor to affect this cytokine. Considering the immunomodulatory properties of IL-6 and IL-4 that inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokines, the rise in IL-6 and IL-4, independent of increases in IL-1β and TNF-α, could indicate a non-damaging response to the stress of simulated physical firefighting work. However, given the link between chronically elevated cytokine levels and several diseases, further research is needed to determine if firefighters’ IL-8 and IL-6 levels are elevated following repeated firefighting deployments across a fire season and over multiple fire seasons.

Keywordspituitary-adrenal axis; c-reactive protein; blood-cell count; antiinflammatory cytokines; wildfire suppression; capillary blood; heart-disease; healthy-men; interleukin-6; deprivation
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420702. Exercise physiology
350505. Occupational and workplace health and safety
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Byline AffiliationsDeakin University
Central Queensland University
School of Health and Medical Sciences
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