Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Age-related decline in sleep quality might be reversible

02.04.2014

Sleep is essential for human health. But with increasing age, many people experience a decline in sleep quality, which in turn reduces their quality of life. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biology of Ageing in Cologne have investigated the mechanisms by which ageing impairs sleep in the fruit fly. Their findings suggest that age-related sleep decline can be prevented and might even be reversible.

To uncover basic age-related sleep mechanisms, the Max Planck scientists studied the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, a classical model organism in ageing research. „Drosophila’s sleep has many features in common with that of humans, including the decline in quality“, says Luke Tain of the MPI for Biology of Ageing.


The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has a life expectancy of about eight weeks and is one of the model organisms scientists at the MPI for Biology of Ageing use to uncover what happ

Wolfgang Weiss for the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing

„Like humans, flies sleep at night and are active during the day. We can observe when and how long flies sleep. We can also determine their sleep quality by measuring how often they wake. This allows us to study the effects of specific substances or other sleep-influencing factors such as age and genetic disposition.“

Ageing researchers Athanasios Metaxakis, Luke Tain, and Sebastian Grönke, in the department of MPI Director Linda Partridge, discovered that a reduced activity in the IIS signalling pathway leads to improved sleep quality at night and higher activity levels at day. A “signalling pathway” is a biological method of transferring information, and via those pathways, the cell can respond to external conditions like the state of food supply.

„In our study, we described the role of the IIS pathway in regulating sleep and activity through the neurotransmitters octopamine and dopamine“, explains Tain. „What makes this pathway so interesting to us is the fact that it is evolutionarily conserved. This means that its components and functions are similar in diverse species from simple organisms like fruit flies to mice and even humans. Furthermore, we were able to improve sleep quality by administering therapeutic agents.”

Moreover, the scientists found out that day activity and night sleep are regulated by two distinct signalling pathways, night sleep being mediated through TOR and dopaminergic signalling. Surprisingly, if TOR’s activity is acutely inhibited by treatment with the therapeutic agent Rapamycin, sleep quality improves even in old flies, suggesting that age-related sleep decline is not only preventable, but also reversible.

The scientists will follow up on their findings. Luke Tain: „Given the high evolutionarily conservation of IIS and TOR function, our results implicate potential therapeutic targets to improve sleep quality in humans. This would be our longer-term goal. The next step however, is to find out whether these mechanisms also work in higher animals like mice.“

Original publication:
Lowered Insulin Signalling Ameliorates Age-Related Sleep Fragmentation in Drosophila. Athanasios Metaxakis, Luke S. Tain, Sebastian Grönke, Oliver Hendrich, Yvonne Hinze, Ulrike Birras, and Linda Partridge. PLOS Biology, April 1, 2014.

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.age.mpg.de

Sabine Dzuck | Max-Planck-Institut

Further reports about: Drosophila IIS MPI Max-Planck-Institut Partridge TOR activity age-related decline flies humans pathway signalling sleep

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht UV light robot to clean hospital rooms could help stop spread of 'superbugs'
15.04.2015 | Texas A&M University

nachricht Heart cells regenerated in mice
14.04.2015 | Weizmann Institute of Science

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Astronomers reveal supermassive black hole's intense magnetic field

Astronomers from Chalmers University of Technology have used the giant telescope Alma to reveal an extremely powerful magnetic field very close to a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy

Astronomers from Chalmers University of Technology have used the giant telescope Alma to reveal an extremely powerful magnetic field very close to a...

Im Focus: A “pin ball machine” for atoms and photons

A team of physicists from MPQ, Caltech, and ICFO proposes the combination of nano-photonics with ultracold atoms for simulating quantum many-body systems and creating new states of matter.

Ultracold atoms in the so-called optical lattices, that are generated by crosswise superposition of laser beams, have been proven to be one of the most...

Im Focus: UV light robot to clean hospital rooms could help stop spread of 'superbugs'

Can a robot clean a hospital room just as well as a person?

According to new research out of the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, that is indeed the case. Chetan Jinadatha, M.D., M.P.H., assistant...

Im Focus: Graphene pushes the speed limit of light-to-electricity conversion

Researchers from ICFO, MIT and UC Riverside have been able to develop a graphene-based photodetector capable of converting absorbed light into an electrical voltage at ultrafast timescales

The efficient conversion of light into electricity plays a crucial role in many technologies, ranging from cameras to solar cells.

Im Focus: Study shows novel pattern of electrical charge movement through DNA

Electrical charges not only move through wires, they also travel along lengths of DNA, the molecule of life. The property is known as charge transport.

In a new study appearing in the journal Nature Chemistry, authors, Limin Xiang, Julio Palma, Christopher Bruot and others at Arizona State University's...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

HHL's Entrepreneurship Conference on FinTech

13.04.2015 | Event News

World Conference On Regenerative Medicine 2015: Registration And Abstract Submission Now Open

25.03.2015 | Event News

University presidents from all over the world meet in Hamburg

19.03.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineer Improves Rechargeable Batteries with MoS2 Nano 'Sandwich'

17.04.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Comparing Climate Models to Real World Shows Differences in Precipitation Intensity

17.04.2015 | Earth Sciences

A blueprint for clearing the skies of space debris

17.04.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>