Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain's energy restored during sleep, suggests animal study

Date:
July 7, 2010
Source:
Society for Neuroscience
Summary:
In the initial stages of sleep, energy levels increase dramatically in brain regions found to be active during waking hours, according to new research. These results suggest that a surge of cellular energy may replenish brain processes needed to function normally while awake.

Levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of cells, in rats increased in four key brain regions normally active during wakefulness. Shown here is the energy surge measured in the frontal cortex, a brain region associated with higher-level thinking.
Credit: Courtesy, with permission: Dworak et al. The Journal of Neuroscience 2010.

In the initial stages of sleep, energy levels increase dramatically in brain regions found to be active during waking hours, according to new research in the June 30 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. These results suggest that a surge of cellular energy may replenish brain processes needed to function normally while awake.

A good night's rest has clear restorative benefits, but evidence of the actual biological processes that occur during sleep has been elusive. Radhika Basheer, PhD, and Robert McCarley, MD, of Boston V.A. Healthcare System and Harvard Medical School, proposed that brain energy levels are key to nightly restoration.

"Our finding bears on one of the perennial conundrums in biology: the function of sleep," Basheer said. "Somewhat surprisingly, there have been no modern-era studies of brain energy using the most sensitive measurements."

The authors measured levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of cells, in rats. They found that ATP levels in four key brain regions normally active during wakefulness increased when the rats were in non-REM sleep, but were accompanied by an overall decrease in brain activity. When the animals were awake, ATP levels were steady. When the rats were gently nudged to stay awake three or six hours past their normal sleep times, there was no increase in ATP.

The authors conclude that sleep is necessary for this ATP energy surge, as keeping the rats awake prevented the surge. The energy increase may then power restorative processes absent during wakefulness, because brain cells consume large amounts of energy just performing daily waking functions.

"This research provides intriguing evidence that a sleep-dependent energy surge is needed to facilitate the restorative biosynthetic processes," said Robert Greene, MD, PhD, of the University of Texas Southwestern, a sleep expert who was unaffiliated with the study. He observed that questions arise from the findings, such as the specific cause of the ATP surge. "The authors propose that the surge is related to decreases in brain cell activity during sleep, but it may be due to many other factors as well, including cellular signaling in the brain," he said.

The research was supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs, a Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Fellowship, and the National Institute of Mental Health.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Markus Dworak, Robert W. McCarley, Tae Kim, Anna V. Kalinchuk, and Radhika Basheer. Sleep and Brain Energy Levels: ATP Changes during Sleep. J Neurosci, 2010; 30: 9007-9016 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1423-10.2010

Cite This Page:

Society for Neuroscience. "Brain's energy restored during sleep, suggests animal study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100629170924.htm>.
Society for Neuroscience. (2010, July 7). Brain's energy restored during sleep, suggests animal study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100629170924.htm
Society for Neuroscience. "Brain's energy restored during sleep, suggests animal study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100629170924.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
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