Researchers reverse effects of sleep deprivation

Jan 02, 2008

Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine have shown that the effects of sleep deprivation on cognitive performance can be reversed when the naturally occurring brain peptide, orexin-A, is administered in monkeys.

Their results are published in this week’s Journal of Neuroscience.

“These findings are significant because of their potential applicability,” said Samuel A. Deadwyler, Ph.D., professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest. “This could benefit patients suffering from narcolepsy and other serious sleep disorders. But it also has applicability to shift workers, the military and many other occupations where sleep is often limited, yet cognitive demand remains high.”

Orexin-A, also known as hypocretin-1, is a naturally occurring peptide produced in the brain that regulates sleep. It’s secreted by a small number of neurons but affects many brain regions during the day and people who have normal amounts of orexin-A are able to maintain wakefulness. When people or animals are sleep-deprived, the brain attempts to produce more orexin-A, but often without enough success to achieve alertness past the normal day-night cycle.

The research team, consisting of Linda Porrino, Ph.D., and Robert Hampson, Ph.D, also of Wake Forest, and Jerome Siegel, Ph.D., of the University of California at Los Angeles, studied the effects of orexin-A on monkeys that were kept awake overnight for 30 to 36 hours with videos, music, treats and interaction with technicians, until their normal testing time the next day. They were then allowed to perform their trained tasks with several cognitive problems that varied in difficulty, and their performance was significantly impaired.

However, if the sleep deprived monkeys were administered orexin-A either intravenously or via a nasal spray immediately prior to testing, their cognitive skills improved to the normal, non-sleep-deprived, level. The researchers also noted that when the monkeys received the orexin-A via the intranasal spray they tested higher than when it was administered intravenously.


Source: Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center

Explore further: Conjoined Brazilian twin dies after surgery

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

IOC defends Rio legacy amid green protests

18 hours ago

Ecological protests on Saturday dogged the final day of an International Olympic Committee executive board meeting in Rio as green campaigners slated the choice of a nature reserve to hold the golf event ...

Recommended for you

Seth Mnookin on vaccination and public health

4 hours ago

Seth Mnookin, an assistant professor of science writing and associate director of MIT's Graduate Program in Science Writing, is the author of "The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy" ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.