Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bearded dragons show REM and slow wave sleep

29.04.2016

Brain sleep appeared early in vertebrate evolution

Behavioral sleep is ubiquitous among animals, from insects to man. In humans, sleep is also characterized by brain activity: periods of slow-wave activity are each followed by short phases of Rapid-Eye-Movement sleep (REM sleep).


Sleeping bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps)

© MPI f. Brain Research/ S. Junek


Sleep constitutes an uninterrupted epoch of regular oscillations between two spectral profiles.

© MPI f. Brain Research/ M. Shein-Idelson, J. Ondracek, H.-P. Liaw, S. Reiter and G. Laurent

These electrical features of brain sleep, whose functions are not well understood, have so far been described only in mammals and birds, but not in reptiles, amphibians or fish. Yet, birds are reptiles—they are the feathered descendants of the now extinct dinosaurs.

How then did brain sleep evolve? Gilles Laurent and members of his laboratory at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany, describe for the first time REM and slow-wave sleep in a reptile, the Australian dragon Pogona vitticeps.

This suggests that brain sleep dates back at least to the evolution of the amniotes, that is, to the beginning of the colonization of terrestrial landmass by vertebrate animals. They reported their findings in the upcoming issue of Science.

Birds, reptiles and mammals are all amniotes, a clade of tetrapod vertebrates, whose eggs could survive outside water, hence enabling land colonization. Amniotes appeared ~320 million years ago, and quickly bifurcated into a group that led to the mammals (including us humans), and another that led to the reptiles and the birds.

Bearded dragons are a type of lizard that branched out of the common reptilian trunk some 250 millions ago, much earlier than the branch that would lead to the dinosaurs and the birds. A phenomenon observed in a lizard, a bird and a mammal would thus most likely have existed in their common ancestor.

Gilles Laurent and his group study the reptilian brain because of its simpler, ancestral design, to understand cortical function, dynamics and computation. In the midst of one of these studies, they observed that brain activity recorded from resting lizards during the night oscillated regularly between two states. The present work derives from this initial observation. They asked: are we seeing REM and slow-wave sleep?

Answering this question requires classifying neuronal activity patterns recorded from the brain, based on a number of statistical, dynamical and anatomical features and correlating them with observable behaviors, such as the presence or absence of rapid eye movements.

In their report, Laurent and his colleagues describe the existence of REM and slow-wave sleep in the Australian dragon, with many common features with mammalian sleep: a phase characterized by low frequency/high amplitude average brain activity and rare and bursty neuronal firing (slow-wave sleep); another characterized by awake-like brain activity and rapid eye movements. Another common feature with mammalian sleep was the coordinated activity of cortex with another area during slow-wave sleep: in dragons this other area is the so-called dorsal ventricular ridge. In mammals it is the hippocampus.

They also report interesting differences: for example, lizard sleep rhythm is extremely regular and fast: the lizard’s sleep cycle is about 80 seconds long at 27oC, vs. 30 minutes in cat or 60-90 minutes in humans. Also, while in lizards slow-wave and REM-sleep have roughly equal durations during each cycle, REM is much shorter then slow-wave sleep in mammals, and both short and irregular in birds. Overall, lizard sleep seems a lot simpler and may thus be closer to the ancestral mode of brain sleep.

How does one know that such evidence points to a common origin, rather than separate but convergent evolution of sleep in reptiles, birds and mammals? “Positing convergent evolution (two or three times in amniote evolution) of a complex phenomenon such as sleep brain dynamics is a lot less plausible than imagining a common origin.

Given the early branching out of the reptiles, additional evidence from several of reptilian branches such as turtles, lizards, or crocodiles will only increase the probability that we are looking at a common origin. The evidence, thus far, points to an origin of REM and slow-wave sleep at least as far back as the common ancestor of reptiles, birds and mammals, which lived about 320 million years ago”, explains Laurent. At that time the earth’s continents formed a single landmass.

The scientists will continue to explore brain activity during sleep and awake states, as a means to understand the common and essential features of vertebrate brain function.

Publication: Shein-Idelson, M., Ondracek, J., Liaw, H.-P., Reiter, S. and Laurent, G. (2016). Slow waves, sharp-waves, ripples and REM in sleeping dragons. Science (in press).

Weitere Informationen:

http://brain.mpg.de/news-events/news.html

Dr. Arjan Vink | Max-Planck-Institut für Hirnforschung
Further information:
http://www.brain.mpg.de/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View
22.06.2018 | University of Sussex

nachricht New cellular pathway helps explain how inflammation leads to artery disease
22.06.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>