Sleep Deprivation and Its Neurotransmitters Research Proposal

Pages: 5 (1366 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Genetics

REM Sleep Deprivation

The complex neurochemistry of the sleep wake cycle has been researched much over the last few decades. It is clear that REM deprivation causes the brain cellular machinery to trigger various neurobiological responses involving selective expression of genes, down regulation and upregulation of neurotransmitters, as well as reorganization of excitatory synapses.

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Sleep is an indispensable physiological function for all living beings. The rejuvenating and refreshing effects of sleep are well-known and over the last few decades there have been numerous research on sleep. The negative effects of sleep deprivation or sleep restriction have been analyzed by many researchers and we now understand some of the basic neurological mechanisms of sleep. It is well-known that sleep deprivation affects the thalamocortical circuits that are important for cognitive functions among other regions of the brain. Research has also documented decline in psychomotor performance due to sleep deprivation. If prolonged for long time, sleep deprivation is even fatal. Besides the well-known effects of sleep on the processing of memory, it also affects other biological processes such as immune function, energy metabolism, appetite and the expression of various genes. The neurotransmitters that are involved in the sleep wake cycle and the effects of sleep deprivation on these transmitters are the subjects of intense study in the field of neurobiology of sleep. A brief overview of some research studies pertaining to sleep deprivation and the neurotransmitter changes will provide better insight into the topic.

Sleep Deprivation (Literature Review)

TOPIC: Research Proposal on Sleep Deprivation and Its Neurotransmitters Assignment

The deprivation of REM (rapid eye movement sleep) causes several changes in the neurotransmitters of the brain. Neuronal changes are important in the transition between wakeful state to sleep state and vice versa. Majumdar (2005) focused on the morphological effects of REM sleep deprivation on the neurons. This study observed that loss of REM affected different regions of the brain differently. It was found that regions of brain such as the locus coeruleus that are directly involved in the control of REM sleep are affected. It was also found that treatment with alpha1-adrenergic antagonist, prazosin helped reverse these changes. [Majumdar (2005)] an earlier research by the same authors focused on the upregulation or down regulation of neurotransmitters such as norephinephirine, GABA and acetylcholine. For this purpose the researchers performed immunohistochemical estimations of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) and choline acetyl transferase (ChAT) the respective neurotransmitter enzymes in the locus coeruleus, pedunculopontine tegmentum and laterodorsal tegmentum and the medial preoptic regions of rat brain. The researchers observed a significant rise in the levels of TH and GAD only in the locus coeruleus area of the sleep-deprived rats when compared with the control group. [Majumdar, (2003)]

Basheer (1998) also studied the effects of REM deprivation on the neurochemical changes in the locus coeruleus region of the brain. The rats involved in the experiment were deprived of REM sleep for 1, 3 and 5 days and then killed and the levels of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and norepinephrine transporter (NET) mRNA were measured using in situ hybridization technique. There were considerable differences between the levels of TH and NET mRNA in the LC of the experimental and control group rats. Since the use of tricyclic antidepressants induces similar changes in levels of TH and NET mRNA, REM sleep deprivation could be useful as a therapy for depression. This research also shows that an increase in norepinephrine activity reduces REM sleep. [Basheer (1998)]

2004 study by Pedrazzoli focused on the effect of REM sleep deprivation on the levels of hippocampal beta-adrenergic receptors. It is already known from previous research that REM deprivation results in a significant reduction of beta-adrenergic receptors in the cortical region. For the study the researchers conducted binding of [3H]-dihydroalprenolol ([3H]-DHA to both the hippocampus as well as the brainstem membranes. Brain homogenates were prepared from rats that were sleep deprived for more than 96 hours. Non-specific binding of both the hippocampus and the brainstem homogenates was determined using DL-propranolol and L-isoproterenol respectively. A marked reduction in beta-adrenergic receptors in both the hippocampus and the brainstem regions were observed. Since similar down… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Sleep Deprivation and Its Neurotransmitters.  (2008, December 7).  Retrieved July 31, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Sleep Deprivation and Its Neurotransmitters."  7 December 2008.  Web.  31 July 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Sleep Deprivation and Its Neurotransmitters."  December 7, 2008.  Accessed July 31, 2021.