Journal: Journal of Neuroscience
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Linking the brain’s sleep and wakefulness circuits
The brain’s command centres for sleep and wakefulness are hard-wired together, finds a Japan-led study. This finding could help researchers design new treatments for sleep disorders.
A team that included scientists from Kanazawa University analysed the circuitry of neurons in the mouse brain implicated in regulating slumber and arousal.
They found that arousal-related neurons in the hypothalamus made direct synaptic connections with sleep-promoting neurons in a particular locality within that brain region. Those connections were blocked, however, by noradrenaline and serotonin — neurotransmitters that play a key role in transitions between sleep and wakefulness.
The findings offer new insights into the brain mechanisms that control sleep and wakefulness, information that “may lead to the development of reliable recommendations for a restful sleep,” said senior study author Takeshi Sakurai in a press release.
- Journal of Neuroscience 38, 6366–6378 (2018). doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2835-17.2018