Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Enzyme behind effects of sleep deprivation discovered

Date:
December 16, 2009
Source:
NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research)
Summary:
Researchers have discovered the enzyme behind effects of sleep deprivation. There is hope for those who miss one night too many or whose children keep them up at night. The unwelcome effects of a bad night's sleep - forgetfulness, impaired mental performance - can be dealt with by reducing the concentration of an enzyme in the brain.

There is hope for those who miss one night too many or whose children keep them up at night. The unwelcome effects of a bad night's sleep -- forgetfulness, impaired mental performance -- can be dealt with by reducing the concentration of an enzyme in the brain.

These are the conclusions of research published by Rubicon-grant winner Robbert Havekes and colleagues in the 22 October issue of Nature.

Millions of people are regularly plagued by sleep deprivation. This can lead to both short-term and long-term problems with memory and learning capacity. How sleep deprivation causes these kinds of problems was largely unknown up to now. Havekes and his colleagues discovered that sleep deprivation in mice undermines the function of a specific molecular mechanism in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for consolidating new memories.

Enzyme inhibition

The researchers kept mice awake for five hours. They found increased levels and activity of the enzyme PDE4 and lower levels of the molecule cAMP in these mice. cAMP plays a crucial role in the formation of new connections between brain cells in the hippocampus and the strengthening of old ones. And without these processes we cannot learn.

The researchers inhibited the activity of the PDE4 enzyme and discovered that this counteracts the effects of sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep leads to an increased PDE4 activity which then blocks the action of cAMP. Consequently fewer connections being formed or strengthened in the hippocampus. This is the first report of researchers 'saving' synaptic plasticity (the ability to develop and strengthen new connections) from the effects of sleep deprivation.

The discovery not only shows how a lack of sleep leads to problems, but also how these problems can be solved. Drugs that stimulate the action of cAMP may make it possible to counteract the effects of sleep deprivation. Neurobiologist Robbert Havekes received a grant from NWO's Rubicon programme in 2007. Rubicon offers researchers who have recently obtained their doctorate the opportunity to gain experience at a top institute abroad. Havekes is currently working with Ted Abel's group at the University of Pennsylvania.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). 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:

NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). "Enzyme behind effects of sleep deprivation discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215160900.htm>.
NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). (2009, December 16). Enzyme behind effects of sleep deprivation discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215160900.htm
NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). "Enzyme behind effects of sleep deprivation discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215160900.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
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