Effects of lifestyle factors on leukocytes in cardiovascular health and disease

Henrike Janssen, Laura L. Koekkoek, Filip K. Swirski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Exercise, stress, sleep and diet are four distinct but intertwined lifestyle factors that influence the cardiovascular system. Abundant epidemiological, clinical and preclinical studies have underscored the importance of managing stress, having good sleep hygiene and responsible eating habits and exercising regularly. We are born with a genetic blueprint that can protect us against or predispose us to a particular disease. However, lifestyle factors build upon and profoundly influence those predispositions. Studies in the past 10 years have shown that the immune system in general and leukocytes in particular are particularly susceptible to environmental perturbations. Lifestyle factors such as stress, sleep, diet and exercise affect leukocyte behaviour and function and thus the immune system at large. In this Review, we explore the various mechanisms by which lifestyle factors modulate haematopoiesis and leukocyte migration and function in the context of cardiovascular health. We pay particular attention to the role of the nervous system as the key executor that connects environmental influences to leukocyte behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-169
Number of pages13
JournalNature Reviews Cardiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024


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