Inflammation, which is the root cause of autoimmune disorders including arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease, has unexpected effects on body clock function and can lead to sleep and shiftwork-type disorders, a new Northwestern Medicine study in mice found.

The study was published in the journal Genes & Development.

The study used a new technology — a genetic switch — to turn inflammation on and off in genetically modified mouse models. When researchers deactivated inflammation, the mouse was unable to tell what time it was and was unable to keep an intact rest-activity cycle.

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