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Direct link between REM sleep loss, desire for sugary and fatty foods discovered

Date:
December 6, 2016
Source:
University of Tsukuba
Summary:
A new method has been used by researchers to produce REM sleep loss in mice along with a chemical-genetic technique to block prefrontal cortex neurons and the behaviors they mediate. As a result, the researchers discovered that inhibiting these neurons reversed the effect of REM sleep loss on sucrose consumption while having no effect on fat consumption.
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The medial prefrontal cortex may play a direct role in controlling our desire to consume weight promoting foods, high in sucrose content, when we are lacking sleep.
Credit: © iuricazac / Fotolia

It is not well understood what role sleep loss plays in affecting areas of the brain that control the desire to consume unhealthy foods. A new paper published on December 6 in the journal eLife finds that rapid eye movement (REM) sleep loss leads to increased consumption of unhealthy foods, specifically sucrose and fat. The researchers at the University of Tsukuba's International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine (IIIS) used a new method to produce REM sleep loss in mice along with a chemical-genetic technique to block prefrontal cortex neurons and the behaviors they mediate. As a result, the IIIS researchers discovered that inhibiting these neurons reversed the effect of REM sleep loss on sucrose consumption while having no effect on fat consumption.

REM sleep is a unique phase of sleep in mammals that is closely associated with dreaming and characterized by random eye movement and almost complete paralysis of the body. The prefrontal cortex plays a role in judging the palatability of foods through taste, smell and texture. Moreover, persons who are obese tend to have increased activity in the prefrontal cortex when exposed to high calorie foods. "Our results suggest that the medial prefrontal cortex may play a direct role in controlling our desire to consume weight promoting foods, high in sucrose content, when we are lacking sleep," says Kristopher McEown, the lead author on this project.


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Materials provided by University of Tsukuba. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kristopher McEown Yohko Takata Yoan Cherasse Nanae Nagata Kosuke Aritake Michael Lazarus. Chemogenetic inhibition of the medial prefrontal cortex reverses the effects of REM sleep loss on sucrose consumption. eLife, December 2016 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.20269.001

Cite This Page:

University of Tsukuba. "Direct link between REM sleep loss, desire for sugary and fatty foods discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161206110327.htm>.
University of Tsukuba. (2016, December 6). Direct link between REM sleep loss, desire for sugary and fatty foods discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 30, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161206110327.htm
University of Tsukuba. "Direct link between REM sleep loss, desire for sugary and fatty foods discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161206110327.htm (accessed April 30, 2017).