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Mouse Study: Muscles May Impact Sleep Disorders

Mouse Study: Muscles May Impact Sleep Disorders

A new study shows that a protein in muscle can lessen the effects of sleep loss in mice.

The finding — a collaboration between University of Texas (UT) Southwestern’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute and two other medical centers — gives scientists a new target besides the brain to develop therapies for people with excessive sleepiness.

“This finding is completely unexpected and changes the ways we think sleep is controlled,” said Dr. Joseph S. Takahashi, chairman of Neuroscience at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

The research demonstrates how a circadian clock protein in the muscle — BMAL1 — regulates the length and manner of sleep.

Study findings appear in the journal eLife.

While the protein’s presence or absence in the brain had little effect on sleep recovery, mice with higher levels of BMAL1 in their muscles recovered from sleep deprivation more quickly.

In addition, removing BMAL1 from the muscle severely disrupted normal sleep, leading to an increased need for sleep, deeper sleep, and a reduced ability to recover.

Takahashi said the finding may eventually lead to therapies that could benefit people in occupations requiring long stretches of wakefulness, from military to airline piloting.

“These studies show that factors in muscles can signal to the brain to influence sleep. If similar pathways exist in people, this would provide new drug targets for the treatment of sleep disorders,” said Takahashi.

The collaborative study is viewed as major step toward understanding the mysteries of sleep.

Source: UT Southwestern

Mouse Study: Muscles May Impact Sleep Disorders

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2017). Mouse Study: Muscles May Impact Sleep Disorders. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 23, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2017/08/07/mouse-study-muscles-may-impact-sleep-disorders/124320.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 7 Aug 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Aug 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.