Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fighting Sleep: Researchers Reverse Cognitive Impairment Caused By Sleep Deprivation

Date:
October 27, 2009
Source:
University of Pennsylvania
Summary:
A research collaboration of biologists and neuroscientists has found a molecular pathway in the brain that is the cause of cognitive impairment due to sleep deprivation. Just as important, the team believes that the cognitive deficits caused by sleep deprivation, such as an inability to focus, learn or memorize, may be reversible by reducing the concentration of a specific enzyme that builds up in the hippocampus of the brain.

Sleep deprivation can have cognitive consequences, including learning and memory deficits, but the mechanisms by which sleep deprivation affects brain function have remained unknown.
Credit: iStockphoto/Nicole Waring

A research collaboration led by biologists and neuroscientists at the University of Pennsylvania has found a molecular pathway in the brain that is the cause of cognitive impairment due to sleep deprivation. Just as important, the team believes that the cognitive deficits caused by sleep deprivation, such as an inability to focus, learn or memorize, may be reversible by reducing the concentration of a specific enzyme that builds up in the hippocampus of the brain.

It is known that sleep deprivation can have cognitive consequences, including learning and memory deficits, but the mechanisms by which sleep deprivation affects brain function remain unknown. A particular challenge has been to develop approaches to reverse the impact of sleep deprivation on cognitive function.

The findings, reported in this week's issue of the journal Nature, could present a new approach to treating the memory and learning deficits of insomnia. A molecular mechanism by which brief sleep deprivation alters hippocampal function is now identified in mice, involving the impairment of cyclic-AMP- and protein-kinase-A-dependent forms of synaptic plasticity, or readiness for cognitive function.

Ted Abel, principal investigator and professor of biology in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, led the international team of researchers that found that sleep deprivation in mice affects an important molecular pathway in the hippocampus, a region of the brain known to be important for memory and learning. The study showed that mice deprived of sleep had increased levels of the enzyme PDE4 and reduced levels of the molecule cAMP, the latter of which is crucial in forming new synaptic connections in the hippocampus, a physiological hallmark of learning.

Researchers then treated the mice with PDE inhibitors, which rescued the sleep deprivation-induced deficits in cAMP signaling, synaptic plasticity and hippocampus dependent memory. This reversal also helped to rescue deficits in synaptic connections in the hippocampus and therefore counteract some of the memory consequences of sleep deprivation.

"Millions of people regularly obtain insufficient sleep," Abel said. "Our work has identified a treatment in mice that can reverse the cognitive impact of sleep deprivation. Further, our work identifies specific molecular changes in neurons caused by sleep deprivation, and future work on this target protein promises to reveal novel therapeutic approaches to treat the cognitive deficits that accompany sleep disturbances seen in sleep apnea, Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia."

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Human Frontier Science Program, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, a Medical Research Council (U.K.) grant, a European Union grant, the Fondation Leducq and a U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council training grant.

The study was conducted by Christopher G. Vecsey, Mathieu Wimmer and Ted Huang of the Neuroscience Graduate Group and Department of Biology at Penn; George S. Baillie, Kim M. Brown and Miles D. Houslay of the Department of Neuroscience and Molecular Pharmacology at the University of Glasgow; Abel, Devan Jaganath, Robbert Havekes and Andrew Daniels of Penn's Department of Biology; and Xiang-Yao Li, Giannina Descalzi, Susan S. Kim, Tao Chen, Yu-Ze Shang and Min Zhuo of the Department of Physiology at the University of Toronto.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pennsylvania. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Vecsey et al. Sleep deprivation impairs cAMP signalling in the hippocampus. Nature, 2009; 461 (7267): 1122 DOI: 10.1038/nature08488

Cite This Page:

University of Pennsylvania. "Fighting Sleep: Researchers Reverse Cognitive Impairment Caused By Sleep Deprivation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091026125401.htm>.
University of Pennsylvania. (2009, October 27). Fighting Sleep: Researchers Reverse Cognitive Impairment Caused By Sleep Deprivation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091026125401.htm
University of Pennsylvania. "Fighting Sleep: Researchers Reverse Cognitive Impairment Caused By Sleep Deprivation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091026125401.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:
from the past week

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