Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sleep boosts production of brain support cells

Date:
September 3, 2013
Source:
Society for Neuroscience (SfN)
Summary:
Sleep increases the reproduction of the cells that go on to form the insulating material on nerve cell projections in the brain and spinal cord known as myelin, according to an animal study. The findings could one day lead scientists to new insights about sleep's role in brain repair and growth.

Myelinated fibers in mouse cerebral cortex.
Credit: Image courtesy of Society for Neuroscience (SfN)

Sleep increases the reproduction of the cells that go on to form the insulating material on nerve cell projections in the brain and spinal cord known as myelin, according to an animal study published in the September 4 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings could one day lead scientists to new insights about sleep's role in brain repair and growth.

Scientists have known for years that many genes are turned on during sleep and off during periods of wakefulness. However, it was unclear how sleep affects specific cells types, such as oligodendrocytes, which make myelin in the healthy brain and in response to injury. Much like the insulation around an electrical wire, myelin allows electrical impulses to move rapidly from one cell to the next.

In the current study, Chiara Cirelli, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, measured gene activity in oligodendrocytes from mice that slept or were forced to stay awake. The group found that genes promoting myelin formation were turned on during sleep. In contrast, the genes implicated in cell death and the cellular stress response were turned on when the animals stayed awake.

"These findings hint at how sleep or lack of sleep might repair or damage the brain," said Mehdi Tafti, PhD, who studies sleep at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and was not involved with this study.

Additional analysis revealed that the reproduction of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) -- cells that become oligodendrocytes -- doubles during sleep, particularly during rapid eye movement (REM), which is associated with dreaming.

"For a long time, sleep researchers focused on how the activity of nerve cells differs when animals are awake versus when they are asleep," Cirelli said. "Now it is clear that the way other supporting cells in the nervous system operate also changes significantly depending on whether the animal is asleep or awake."

Additionally, Cirelli speculated the findings suggest that extreme and/or chronic sleep loss could possibly aggravate some symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease that damages myelin. Cirelli noted that future experiments may examine whether or not an association between sleep patterns and severity of MS symptoms exists.

This research was funded by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Psychiatry.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Society for Neuroscience (SfN). "Sleep boosts production of brain support cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130903193807.htm>.
Society for Neuroscience (SfN). (2013, September 3). Sleep boosts production of brain support cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130903193807.htm
Society for Neuroscience (SfN). "Sleep boosts production of brain support cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130903193807.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — A study by King's College London says there's a link between how well kids draw at age 4 and how intelligent they are later in life. 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