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 New way to look at cell membranes could change the way we study disease
19.11.2018 | University of Oxford

nachricht Controlling organ growth with light
19.11.2018 | European Molecular Biology Laboratory

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New materials: Growing polymer pelts

19.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Earthquake researchers finalists for supercomputing prize

19.11.2018 | Information Technology

Controlling organ growth with light

19.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>