Hibernation consists of alternating periods of reduced metabolism (torpor) with brief periods of metabolism similar to summer euthermia (arousal). The function of the innate immune system is reduced during hibernation, of which the underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood. Here, we studied neutrophil functionality during hibernation in Syrian hamsters. The inflammatory response to LPS-induced endotoxemia is inhibited in hibernation, partly mediated by reduced IL-6 production in early arousal. Furthermore, neutrophil pathogen binding, phagocytosis and oxidative burst is profoundly reduced in early arousal. Functionality of both summer and early arousal neutrophils was repressed in plasma from early arousal and mixed plasma from early arousal and summer euthermic, but restored by summer euthermic plasma, signifying that a plasma factor in early arousal inhibits TLR-recognition. Identification of the inhibiting factor may offer a target to modulate neutrophil function with relevance to (auto-)inflammatory diseases.
- BODY-TEMPERATURE GOVERNS