Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

If you don't snooze, do you lose?

11.10.2011
Wisconsin study shows wake-sleep patterns affect brain synapses during adolescence

An ongoing lack of sleep during adolescence could lead to more than dragging, foggy teens, a University of Wisconsin-Madison study suggests.

Researchers have found that short-term sleep restriction in adolescent mice prevented the balanced growth and depletion of brain synapses, connections between nerve cells where communication occurs.

"One possible implication of our study is that if you lose too much sleep during adolescence, especially chronically, there may be lasting consequences in terms of the wiring of the brain," says Dr. Chiara Cirelli, associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the School of Medicine and Public Health.

Mental illnesses such as schizophrenia tend to start during adolescence but the exact reasons remain unclear. The National Institute of Mental Health funded Cirelli's study; the findings appear in the current issue of Nature Neuroscience (Advance Online Publication).

"Adolescence is a sensitive period of development during which the brain changes dramatically," Cirelli says. "There is a massive remodeling of nerve circuits, with many new synapses formed and then eliminated."

Cirelli and colleagues wanted to see how alterations to the sleep-wake cycle affected the anatomy of the developing adolescent brain.

Their earlier molecular and electro-physiological studies showed that during sleep, synapses in adult rodents and flies become weaker and smaller, presumably preparing them for another period of wakefulness when synapses will strengthen again and become larger in response to ever-changing experiences and learning. They call this the synaptic homeostasis hypothesis of sleep.

Using a two-photon microscope, researchers indirectly followed the growth and retraction of synapses by counting dendritic spines, the elongated structures that contain synapses and thus allow brain cells to receive impulses from other brain cells. They compared adolescent mice that for eight to 10 hours were spontaneously awake, allowed to sleep or forced to stay awake.

The live images showed that being asleep or awake made a difference in the dynamic adolescent mouse brain: the overall density of dendritic spines fell during sleep and rose during spontaneous or forced wakefulness.

"These results using acute manipulations of just eight to 10 hours show that the time spent asleep or awake affects how many synapses are being formed or removed in the adolescent brain," Cirelli says. "The important next question is what happens with chronic sleep restriction, a condition that many adolescents are often experiencing."

The experiments are under way, but Cirelli can't predict the outcome. "It could be that the changes are benign, temporary and reversible," she says, "or there could be lasting consequences for brain maturation and functioning."

Dian Land | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wisc.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>