Protein Levels Involved in Cognitive Impairment Caused by Sleep Deprivation

Protein Levels Involved in Cognitive Impairment Caused by Sleep Deprivation

Author: ChemistryViews

Sleep deprivation can cause cognitive impairment. A lack of sleep can lead to neurological damage in the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in learning and memory. To better understand the changes responsible for this effect, shifts in the abundance of proteins and RNA have been examined, and some factors linking sleep loss to damage have been identified. However, there is still a lack of further verification in a larger population and of confirmation of their association with cognition function.

Fuyi Xu, Jia Mi, Binzhou Medical University, Yantai, Shandong, China, and colleagues have studied proteins in the brains of sleep-deprived mice and identified a protective protein whose level declines with sleep loss and is associated with cognitive functions. The researchers first evaluated how well mice navigated a simple maze and learned to recognize new objects after having been sleep-deprived for two days, which was induced using para-chlorophenylalanine (PCPA). They then extracted proteins from the animals’ hippocampi and identified those whose abundance changed compared with data from mice that had not experienced sleep deprivation.

The team found that sleep deprivation changes the expression of proteins in hippocampal tissue. In particular, the team found that the levels of pleiotrophin (PTN) in the sleep-deprived mice correlated with their cognitive performance. The team suggests that the protective effect of Ptn on neurons may be based on preventing glutamate-induced neurotoxicity. Based on this work, PTN levels could serve as an indicator of cognitive impairment resulting from insomnia.


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