Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists uncover "time for bed" molecules

23.01.2003

Animals lacking molecules called cryptochromes have abnormal sleeping patterns because their internal biorhythms are disrupted. New research from scientists at Stanford University, the University of North Carolina and SRI International published in the open access journal, BMC Neuroscience shows that mice lacking these molecules also respond differently to sleep deprivation. This suggests that cryptochromes are also involved in sleep homeostasis, the process by which we feel tired after we have been awake for a long time.

Sleep is regulated in mammals in two ways. Firstly, it is controlled by an internal body clock, which in humans makes us feel tired at night and awake during the day. Secondly there is a tendency for animals deprived of sleep to feel tired and sleep longer following prolonged wakefulness. This is due to a process called sleep homeostasis, which tries to maintain a balance between time spent awake and time spent asleep.

Molecules known as cryptochromes are known to be involved in the generation of the natural rhythms of the body clock, but it is not clear if they are involved in the regulation of sleep after a period of wakefulness. Stanford scientists Dale Edgar, Jonathan Wisor and colleagues have now investigated the regulation of sleep in mice that are unable to produce functional cryptochrome molecules.

Mice are a nocturnal species that tend to sleep during the day and be awake at night. Mutant mice that lack the cryptochrome genes do not show a preference for sleep at night, which suggests that their body clocks are broken. To investigate the response of these mice to sleep deprivation the researchers continually woke mice up for six hours with gentle handling or by the introduction of an unfamiliar object into their cage.

The response of the mutant mice to being kept awake was quite different to normal mice. The researchers were able to measure both the intensity and length of non-REM sleep following sleep deprivation by measuring brain waves in a technique known as electroencephalography. After six hours of sleep deprivation normal mice showed a characteristic increase in the duration of sleep as regulated by homeostasis. However, mutant mice lacking cryptochromes did not exhibit increases in the duration of non-REM sleep following sleep deprivation.

These results led researchers to conclude that mice lacking cryptochromes can be used a model organism to gain a deeper understanding about the ways in which sleep is regulated. Further understanding of the process of sleep regulation is exciting as the disruption of normal sleeping patterns is a common symptom in a variety of illnesses ranging from arthritis to Parkinson’s disease as well a being very common in sufferers of depression.

Gordon Fletcher | BioMed Central
Further information:
http://www.biomedcentral.com
http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1471-2202-3-20.pdf

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>