A  A  A   Print
Sleep May Aid in Brain Repair, Mouse Study Finds

Sleep May Aid in Brain Repair, Mouse Study Finds

TUESDAY, Sept. 3 (HealthDay News) -- The reproduction of cells involved in brain repair is boosted during sleep, according to a new study of mice.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, found that sleep increases the process by which certain cells, known as oligodendrocytes, form myelin. Myelin is the insulation on nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that allows electrical impulses to move rapidly from one cell to another.

In conducting the study, published in the Sept. 4 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, the researchers examined the myelin-forming cells of mice that slept, as well as those of mice that were deprived of sleep.

Genes that promote the production of this insulation were activated during sleep, the researchers found. Meanwhile, the genes linked to cell death and the cellular stress response were activated among the mice that were forced to stay awake.

"These findings hint at how sleep or lack of sleep might repair or damage the brain," Mehdi Tafti, a sleep researcher at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, who was not involved with this study, said in a journal news release.

The study authors also found that the reproduction of the cells that go on to become oligodendrocytes doubles during sleep. This is particularly true during rapid eye movement (REM), which is the phase of sleep associated with dreaming.

"For a long time, sleep researchers focused on how the activity of nerve cells differs when animals are awake versus when they are asleep," Dr. Chiara Cirelli, from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, said in the news release. "Now it is clear that the way other supporting cells in the nervous system operate also changes significantly depending on whether the animal is asleep or awake."

The study findings suggest that extreme or chronic sleep loss could worsen some symptoms of multiple sclerosis, a disease that damages myelin, the researchers said. Future studies may look for a possible link between sleep patterns and severity of multiple sclerosis symptoms, they added.

Scientists caution, however, that research in animals often fails to provide similar findings in humans.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about sleep.

SOURCE: Journal of Neuroscience, news release, Sept. 3, 2013

 
Today's Interactive Tools

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.