Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene Mutations In Mice Mimic Human-like Sleep Disorder

Date:
May 23, 2008
Source:
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Summary:
Mutations in two genes that control electrical excitability in a portion of the brain involved in sleep create a human-like insomnia disorder in mice, researchers have found.

Neuroscientists Dr. Rolf Joho (left) and Dr. Felipe Espinosa are studying a human disorder called sleep maintenance insomnia, in which sufferers can get to sleep, but don't remain at rest for long. Their findings in mice may help scientists better understand the disorder and provide an animal model for developing treatments.
Credit: UT Southwestern Medical Center

Mutations in two genes that control electrical excitability in a portion of the brain involved in sleep create a human-like insomnia disorder in mice, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found. The findings may help scientists better understand the disorder and provide an animal model for developing treatments.

Related Articles


"This is one of the most dramatic sleep-disturbance mutations," said Dr. Rolf Joho, associate professor of neuroscience and senior author of the paper, which appears online and in the May 21 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. "The mice sleep half as much as normal mice."

The mutant mice appeared to have a condition similar to a human disorder called sleep maintenance insomnia, in which sufferers can get to sleep, but don't remain at rest for long.

"We're trying to look at where in the brain this originates," Dr. Joho said. "The same mechanism could be involved in many neurophysiological disorders."

The researchers focused on two genes that encode molecules known as ion channels. An ion channel is a pore that spans a cell's membrane, opening and closing to allow charged atoms, or ions, to cross the membrane. The coordinated opening and closing of various ion channels allows nerve cells to carry electrical signals.

In the current study, the researchers examined two channels that allow potassium ions to cross the cell membrane. The researchers genetically engineered mice to have defects in the ion channels Kv3.1 and Kv3.3, which normally open and close much faster than other potassium channels.

These channels are common in a portion of the brain called the thalamic reticular nucleus, which is thought to act as a "pacemaker" during sleep, controlling slow-wave sleep -- the deep, restful sleep that occurs without dreams.

The mutant mice slept only 50 percent to 60 percent as much as normal mice. Measurements of their brain waves showed that they entered slow-wave sleep, but only for short periods before waking again.

The mice did not readily get restful sleep even after sleep deprivation, the researchers found.

In future studies, the researchers hope to focus on the Kv3.1 mutation alone, which they believe, based on previous studies might be the primary factor in the sleep disturbances, while Kv3.3 mutations might affect muscle coordination.

The researchers also plan to investigate ways to restore function of Kv3.1 with potential drugs. So far, there are no medications that affect this ion channel.

\

Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study were lead author Dr. Felipe Espinosa, instructor of neuroscience; Dr. Miguel Torres-Vega, former postdoctoral fellow in neuroscience; and Dr. Gerald Marks, adjunct associate professor of psychiatry.

The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Restless Leg Syndrome Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by UT Southwestern Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Gene Mutations In Mice Mimic Human-like Sleep Disorder." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080520175401.htm>.
UT Southwestern Medical Center. (2008, May 23). Gene Mutations In Mice Mimic Human-like Sleep Disorder. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080520175401.htm
UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Gene Mutations In Mice Mimic Human-like Sleep Disorder." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080520175401.htm (accessed December 17, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Rural Sierra Leone the Red Cross Battles Ebola

In Rural Sierra Leone the Red Cross Battles Ebola

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) The Red Cross battles the Ebola virus in rural Sierra Leone and its fallout. In one treatment centre in the city of Kenema, the Red Cross also runs a kindergarten. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins