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... Substantial evidence derived from both human and animal research indicates that even a short period of sleep deprivation (SD) can negatively impact brain function, including attention, decision making and various types of memory (Abel, Havekes, Saletin, & Walker, 2013;Walker, 2008). Interestingly, recent studies investigating specific types of memory revealed that the hippocampus is especially vulnerable to the negative consequences of sleep loss ( Abel et al., 2013;Havekes and Abel, 2017;Kreutzmann, Havekes, Abel, & Meerlo, 2015;Saletin et al., 2016). For example, even a single night of SD has been shown to impair hippocampus-dependent memory consolidation in humans (Van Der Werf et al., 2009;Yoo, Hu, Gujar, Jolesz, & Walker, 2007). ...
... In contrast to LTP, long-term depression, characterized by a long-lasting decrease in synaptic transmission, induces spine shrinkage and a decrease in spine numbers (Bourne and Harris, 2008;Hasegawa, Sakuragi, Tominaga-Yoshino, & Ogura, 2015;Zhou, Homma, & Poo, 2004). Such spine dynamics are thought to be crucial for the storage of new information and memory consolidation (De Roo et al., 2008;Lamprecht and LeDoux, 2004;Lamprecht, 2014;Raven et al., 2017) and an impairment of spine dynamics may be an important mechanism of SD-induced memory impairments (Areal, Warby, & Mongrain, 2017;Havekes and Abel, 2017;Puentes-Mestril and Aton, 2017;Raven et al., 2017). For instance, sleep-dependent motor learning has recently been associated with changes in spine dynamics in the motor cortex (Li, Ma, Yang, & Gan, 2017). ...
... In this same special issue Delorme et al. show that ARC, a protein critical for synaptic plasticity like BDNF, is also reduced in the dentate gyrus after 3 h of SD (Delorme et al., in press). Furthermore, sleep loss impacts synaptic plasticity by attenuating cAMP levels in the hippocampus ( Havekes and Abel, 2017;Luo, Phan, Yang, Garelick, & Storm, 2013;Vecsey et al., 2009). The reduction of cAMP after SD could be the result of altered expression levels of specific isoforms of the phospodiesterase (PDE) family, a group of cAMP degrading enzymes that have been implicated in synaptic plasticity ( Houslay and Adams, 2003). ...
Sleep and sleep loss have a profound impact on hippocampal function, leading to memory impairments. Modifications in the strength of synaptic connections directly influences neuronal communication, which is vital for normal brain function, as well as the processing and storage of information. In a recently published study, we found that as little as five hours of sleep deprivation impaired hippocampus-dependent memory consolidation, which was accompanied by a reduction in dendritic spine numbers in hippocampal area CA1. Surprisingly, loss of sleep did not alter the spine density of CA3 neurons. Although sleep deprivation has been reported to affect the function of the dentate gyrus, it is unclear whether a brief period of sleep deprivation impacts spine density in this region. Here, we investigated the impact of brief period of sleep deprivation on dendritic structure in the dentate gyrus of the dorsal hippocampus. We found that five hours of sleep loss reduces spine density in the dentate gyrus with a prominent effect on branched spines. Interestingly, the inferior blade of the dentate gyrus seems to be more vulnerable in terms of spine loss than the superior blade. This decrease in spine density predominantly in the inferior blade of the dentate gyrus may contribute to the memory deficits observed after sleep loss, as structural reorganization of synaptic networks in this subregion is fundamental for cognitive processes.
... Synaptic plasticity and the maintenance of synapse strength require sleep, and cognitive abilities, including learning and memory ( Vecsey et al., 2015;Tudor et al., 2016), are impaired following sleep deprivation. Even a short period of sleep deprivation, 1 h after cognitive learning, can impair memory formation ( Prince et al., 2014) and the hippocampal memory system appears to be especially sensitive to sleep loss ( Havekes et al., 2016;Havekes and Abel, 2017). The alterations in the brain found following sleep deprivation can manifest as numerous phenotypes. ...
... Therefore, epigenetic mechanisms to modulate circadian genes are critical for the maintenance of circadian rhythm and sleep homeostasis. The hippocampus is vulnerable to sleep deprivation ( Prince and Abel, 2013;Havekes and Abel, 2017), which causes hippocampus-dependent spatial memory loss. This effect can be rescued upon treatment with the HDAC inhibitor, Trichostatin A (TSA; Duan et al., 2016). ...
Sleep deprivation disrupts the lives of millions of people every day and has a profound impact on the molecular biology of the brain. These effects begin as changes within a neuron, at the DNA and RNA level, and result in alterations in neuronal plasticity and dysregulation of many cognitive functions including learning and memory. The epigenome plays a critical role in regulating gene expression in the context of memory storage. In this review article, we begin by describing the effects of epigenetic alterations on the regulation of gene expression, focusing on the most common epigenetic mechanisms: (i) DNA methylation; (ii) histone modifications; and (iii) non-coding RNAs. We then discuss evidence suggesting that sleep loss impacts the epigenome and that these epigenetic alterations might mediate the changes in cognition seen following disruption of sleep. The link between sleep and the epigenome is only beginning to be elucidated, but clear evidence exists that epigenetic alterations occur following sleep deprivation. In the future, these changes to the epigenome could be utilized as biomarkers of sleep loss or as therapeutic targets for sleep-related disorders.
... In the current study, we observed that the activation level of the Akt/mTOR signaling pathway was higher in the chronic phase after sepsis, when neuronal loss in the CA1 region could be detected. Interestingly, previous studies of the relationship between sleep deprivation and hippocampal function reported similar findings, demonstrating that sleep deprivation can impair hippocampal mTOR signaling and ultimately cause loss of CA1 neurons ( Havekes and Abel, 2017). ...
Survivors of sepsis may suffer chronic cognitive impairment as a long-term sequela. However, the precise mechanisms of cognitive dysfunction after sepsis are not well understood. We employed the cecal ligation-and-puncture-induced septic mouse model. We observed elevated phosphorylation of Akt, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and p70S6K on days 14 and 60, progressive neuronal loss in the cornu ammonis 1 region, and abnormal neuronal morphology in the hippocampus in the sepsis mouse model. These findings indicate that changes in neuronal morphology and number in the hippocampus after sepsis were associated with strong activation of the Akt/mTOR signaling pathway, and may reflect a "self-rescuing" feedback response to neuronal loss after sepsis.
... Numerous protein kinases, neurotrophins, and transcription factors such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), calcium-calmodulin- dependent protein kinase II (CAMKII), and cAMP response-element- binding (CREB) play a crucial role in stabilizing fragile memories. SD disrupts the hippocampal signal pathways involved in spatial memory consolidation and affects pertinent gene expressions . Findings of recent studies supported that in the fine-tuning and maintenance of memory, there is the central role of miRNAs, small non-coding RNA transcripts (approximate 22 nucleotides) functioning as post-tran- scriptional regulators of gene expression [18,19]. Until now, hundreds of miRNAs have been detected in the brain, and some of them including miR-132, miR-182, and miR-124 play important roles in memory con- solidation .formation of new neural connections occurs in the first few hours after the initial acquisition; however, post-learning critical temporal frames that are sensitive to REM SD are not fully defined yet. ...
Sleep is essential for memory consolidation that stabilizes a memory trace. Memory consolidation includes waves of new gene expression and protein synthesis. Recently, microRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as critical regulators of memory processes. Previous studies demonstrated that rapid eye movement (REM) sleep deprivation (REM SD) during specific time windows after training in the Morris water maze (MWM) task impairs memory consolidation. Here, we showed that the post-learning REM sleep, extending from 3 to 6 h after last training, is critical for spatial learning in the MWM task. Further, we found that the REM SD after training significantly changes the hippocampal expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA; however, it causes minimal difference in the hippocampal expressions of calcium-calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CAMKII) and cAMP response-element-binding (CREB). In addition, it considerably affected the hippocampal expressions of miR-132, miR-182, and miR-124. In conclusion, after the MWM task, the post-learning REM sleep during specific time windows can modulate spatial memory consolidation, and its deprivation can impact the hippocampal transcriptional processes including memory-related miRNAs and mRNAs.
... Longer-term (i.e., days-long) SD can cause profound cognitive disruption (Meyhofer et al., 2017). In animal models, various neurocognitive performance deficits have been described following SD (Aton, 2013;Havekes and Abel, 2017). This has led to the hypothesis that at least some forms of synaptic plasticity associated with these cognitive processes occur preferentially during sleep. ...
Research findings over the past two decades have supported a link between sleep states and synaptic plasticity. Numerous mechanistic hypotheses have been put forth to explain this relationship. For example, multiple studies have shown structural alterations to synapses (including changes in synaptic volume, spine density, and receptor composition) indicative of synaptic weakening after a period of sleep. Direct measures of neuronal activity and synaptic strength support the idea that a period of sleep can reduce synaptic strength. This has led to the synaptic homeostasis hypothesis (SHY), which asserts that during slow wave sleep, synapses are downscaled throughout the brain to counteract net strengthening of network synapses during waking experience (e.g., during learning). However, neither the cellular mechanisms mediating these synaptic changes, nor the sleep-dependent activity changes driving those cellular events are well-defined. Here we discuss potential cellular and network dynamic mechanisms which could underlie reductions in synaptic strength during sleep. We also discuss recent findings demonstrating circuit-specific synaptic strengthening (rather than weakening) during sleep. Based on these data, we explore the hypothetical role of sleep-associated network activity patterns in driving synaptic strengthening. We propose an alternative to SHY—namely that depending on experience during prior wake, a variety of plasticity mechanisms may operate in the brain during sleep. We conclude that either synaptic strengthening or synaptic weakening can occur across sleep, depending on changes to specific neural circuits (such as gene expression and protein translation) induced by experiences in wake. Clarifying the mechanisms underlying these different forms of sleep-dependent plasticity will significantly advance our understanding of how sleep benefits various cognitive functions.
... This indicates that sleep loss has a detrimental effect on memory in mice. It is widely accepted that S-Dep causes memory im- pairment through its deleterious effects on the hippocampus, suggesting that this brain region is particularly sensitive to the consequences of sleep loss (Havekes and Abel, 2017). The results of the CTM + S-Dep group in the memory test demonstrated the beneficial effects of CTM on sleep-loss-induced memory impairment. ...
... Also, there is considerable evidence that the hippocampus is strongly affected by SD. In fact, SD impacts hippocampal volume, plasticity and memory processing leading to memory deficits ( Kreutzmann, Havekes, Abel, & Meerlo, 2015;Havekes & Abel, 2017). The inter-dependency between hippocampal and sleep functions including the susceptibility of this brain region to sleep loss could exacerbate vulnerability to other disturbing factors, such as the accumulation of toxic Aßo in AD. ...
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a debilitating neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive hippocampal-dependent explicit memory deficits that begin at the onset of the illness. An early hallmark of AD is the accumulation of amyloid-beta (Aß) proteins in brain structures involved in encoding and consolidation of memory, like the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Aß neurotoxicity is known to induce synaptic dysfunctions and neuronal death leading to cognitive decline. Another recurrent event observed in AD is sleep disturbances. Decreased sleep duration, sleep fragmentation, and circadian alterations are often observed in early AD. The origin of these disturbances, and especially the specific contribution of the hippocampal Aß pathology, remains to be determined. It is required to identify mechanisms impacting wakefulness and sleep architecture and microarchitecture given the role of sleep in memory encoding and consolidation. Sleep perturbations in AD are thus likely contributing to memory decline in the course of the disease. The central aim of this review is to address the bidirectional relationship between sleep and hippocampal Aß by discussing the literature featuring data on wakefulness and sleep variables (i.e., duration, electroencephalographic activity, daily distribution) in AD mouse models and on the effect of enforced sleep loss on Aß pathology in the hippocampus. The current state of knowledge on this topic emphasizes a clear need for more efforts to assess the precise impact of hippocampal Aß on wakefulness and sleep quality as well as the mechanisms mediating their reciprocal relationship.
... Numerous protein kinases, neurotrophins, and transcription factors such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), calcium-calmodulindependent protein kinase II (CAMKII), and cAMP response-elementbinding (CREB) play a crucial role in stabilizing fragile memories. SD disrupts the hippocampal signal pathways involved in spatial memory consolidation and affects pertinent gene expressions . Findings of recent studies supported that in the fine-tuning and maintenance of memory, there is the central role of miRNAs, small non-coding RNA transcripts (approximate 22 nucleotides) functioning as post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression [18,19]. Until now, hundreds of miRNAs have been detected in the brain, and some of them including miR-132, miR-182, and miR-124 play important roles in memory consolidation .formation of new neural connections occurs in the first few hours after the initial acquisition; however, post-learning critical temporal frames that are sensitive to REM SD are not fully defined yet. ...
Sleep is an essential process for memory consolidation(MC) that stabilize a memory trace. The behavioral experiments have led to the conclusion that post-learning Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Deprivation(REM-SD) disrupts MC if specific period of sleep is eliminated. Tomosyn, a syntaxin-binding protein, is known to inhibit vesicle priming and synaptic transmission. Recently it has been shown that neuron-specific overexpression of tomosyn in the mouse hippocampus impairs spatial learning and memory. Therefore, the current study aims to determine the effects of specific time period of REM-SD on MC and the changes of the expression of tomosyn in hippocampus.
... It is possible that the hippocampus is more vulnerable to sleep loss than to circadian rhythm disturbance. The effects of sleep amount and quality on hippocampal cellular and molecular processes, critical for learning, memory and spatial navigation, have been well characterized (Meerlo et al., 2009;Prince and Abel, 2013;Havekes and Abel, 2017). In our model, total sleep time was reduced similarly in rest workers and active workers (11%–12% compared to baseline), and cumulative slow-wave energy during non-REM sleep did not differ between the groups (Grønli et al., 2017). ...
Millions of people worldwide work during the night, resulting in disturbed circadian rhythms and sleep loss. This may cause deficits in cognitive functions, impaired alertness and increased risk of errors and accidents. Disturbed circadian rhythmicity resulting from night shift work could impair brain function and cognition through disrupted synthesis of proteins involved in synaptic plasticity and neuronal function. Recently, the circadian transcription factor brain-and-muscle arnt-like protein 1 (BMAL1) has been identified as a promoter of mRNA translation initiation, the most highly regulated step in protein synthesis, through binding to the mRNA " cap ". In this study we investigated the effects of simulated shift work on protein synthesis markers. Male rats (n = 40) were exposed to forced activity, either in their rest phase (simulated night shift work) or in their active phase (simulated day shift work) for 3 days. Following the third work shift, experimental animals and time-matched undisturbed controls were euthanized (rest work at ZT12; active work at ZT0). Tissue lysates from two brain regions (prefrontal cortex, PFC and hippocampus) implicated in cognition and sleep loss, were analyzed with m 7 GTP (cap) pull-down to examine time-of-day variation and effects of simulated shift work on cap-bound protein translation. The results show time-of-day variation of protein synthesis markers in PFC, with increased protein synthesis at ZT12. In the hippocampus there was little difference between ZT0 and ZT12. Active phase work did not induce statistically significant changes in protein synthesis markers at ZT0 compared to time-matched undisturbed controls. Rest work, however, resulted in distinct brain-region specific changes of protein synthesis markers compared to time-matched controls at ZT12. While no changes were observed in the hippocampus, phosphorylation of cap-bound BMAL1 and its regulator S6 kinase beta-1 (S6K1) was significantly reduced in the PFC, together with significant reduction in the synaptic plasticity associated protein activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein (Arc). Our results indicate considerable time-of-day and brain-region specific variation in cap-dependent translation initiation. We conclude Frontiers in Neural Circuits | www.frontiersin.org 1 October 2017 | Volume 11 | Article 70 Marti et al. Shift Work Alters BMAL1 Activity that simulated night shift work in rats disrupts the pathways regulating the circadian component of the translation of mRNA in the PFC, and that this may partly explain impaired waking function during night shift work.
... Some of them was upregulated to maintain homeostatic adaptation despite the decreased amount of the transmitter, while the level of others, like GluA1, GluN1 and GluN2B, decreased. As the later receptor subunits are important in regulation of Ca 2+ entry into the cells, they may be crucially important in determination of excitability and synaptic plasticity ( Kreutzmann et al., 2015;Havekes and Abel, 2017). In the above-mentioned study, spontaneous glutamate release was measured during sleep deprivation, but stimulus-evoked changes of the release were not tested. ...
... A recent study demonstrated a causal role of REM sleep theta oscillations by showing that specific inhibition of hippocampal theta oscillations during REM sleep disrupts memory consolidation ( Boyce et al., 2016). The role of sleep for molecular and cellular aspects of hippocampal synaptic plasticity and consolidation has also been extensively studied (for review, e.g., Abel et al., 2013;Kreutzmann et al., 2015;Havekes and Abel, 2017). For instance, recent studies identified some of the molecular and structural mechanisms underlying the detrimental effects of acute short sleep deprivation on memory. ...
The process of neurogenesis has been demonstrated to occur throughout life in the subgranular zone (SGZ) of the hippocampal dentate gyrus of several mammals, including humans. The basal rate of adult hippocampal neurogenesis can be altered by lifestyle and environmental factors. In this perspective review, the evidence for sleep as a modulator of adult hippocampal neurogenesis is first summarized. Following this, the impacts of sleep and sleep disturbances on hippocampal-dependent functions, including learning and memory, and depression are critically evaluated. Finally, we postulate that the effects of sleep on hippocampal-dependent functions may possibly be mediated by a change in adult hippocampal neurogenesis. This could provide a route to new treatments for cognitive impairments and psychiatric disorders.
Sleep is a highly conserved phenomenon in endotherms, and therefore it must serve at least one basic function across this wide range of species. What that function is remains one of the biggest mysteries in neurobiology. By using the word neurobiology, we do not mean to exclude possible non-neural functions of sleep, but it is difficult to imagine why the brain must be taken offline if the basic function of sleep did not involve the nervous system. In this chapter we discuss several current hypotheses about sleep function. We divide these hypotheses into two categories: ones that propose higher-order cognitive functions and ones that focus on housekeeping or restorative processes. We also pose four aspects of sleep that any successful functional hypothesis has to account for: why do the properties of sleep change across the life span? Why and how is sleep homeostatically regulated? Why must the brain be taken offline to accomplish the proposed function? And, why are there two radically different stages of sleep?
Developmental ethanol exposure is a well known cause of lifelong cognitive deficits, behavioral hyperactivity, emotional dysregulation, and more. In healthy adults, sleep is thought to have a critical involvement in each of these processes. Our previous work has demonstrated that some aspects of cognitive impairment in adult mice exposed at postnatal day 7 (P7) to ethanol (EtOH) correlate with slow-wave sleep (SWS) fragmentation (Wilson et al., 2016). We and others have also previously demonstrated that co-treatment with LiCl on the day of EtOH exposure prevents many of the anatomical and physiological impairments observed in adults. Here we explored cognitive function, diurnal rhythms (activity, temperature), SWS, and parvalbumin (PV) and perineuronal net (PNN)-positive cell densities in adult mice that had received a single day of EtOH exposure on P7 and saline treated littermate controls. Half of the animals also received a LiCl injection on P7. The results suggest that developmental EtOH resulted in adult behavioral hyperactivity, cognitive impairment, and reduced SWS compared to saline controls. Both of these effects were reduced by LiCl treatment on the day of EtOH exposure. Finally, developmental EtOH resulted in decreased PV/PNN-expressing cells in retrosplenial (RS) cortex and dorsal CA3 hippocampus at P90. As with sleep and behavioral activity, LiCl treatment reduced this decrease in PV expression. Together, these results further clarify the long-lasting effects of developmental EtOH on adult behavior, physiology, and anatomy. Furthermore, they demonstrate the neuroprotective effects of LiCl co-treatment on this wide range of developmental EtOH's long-lasting consequences.
Recent studies combining sleep measurements with measurements of neuronal plasticity have provided important insights into how sleep influences synaptic remodeling in the central nervous system. Scientists have employed different approaches to this problem that include classic models of plasticity in vivo and in vitro and more theoretical organizing principles. The resulting findings have in turn led to a reassessment of theories of sleep function and the role of sleep in brain plasticity. In this chapter, I discuss these key findings and current theories that posit different roles for sleep in neuronal plasticity.
By a systematic analysis of the current literature, we compare two states of sleep and meditation in terms of their role in the formation or suppression of Deese–Roediger–McDermott (DRM) false memory. We aim to suggest that the occurrence of false memory under these two states is a result of reinforcing some abilities and changes in cognitive systems which can ultimately improve some aspects of cognitive functions. In our analogy, we propose that: (1) both sleep and meditation may improve source monitoring ability whose failure is one of the most important mechanisms in producing false memories, and (2) despite improvement in source monitoring ability, adaptive cognitive processes, as mechanisms which are common in sleep and meditation, can still produce false memories. In conclusion, we propose that in spite of their contribution to false memory through adaptive processes, the beneficial role of sleep and meditation in cognition may be more prominent than their harmful role.
Hcrt gene inactivation in mice leads to behavioral state instability,
abnormal transitions to paradoxical sleep, and cataplexy, hallmarks
of narcolepsy. Sleep homeostasis is, however, considered
unimpaired in patients and narcoleptic mice. We find that whereas
Hcrtko/ko mice respond to 6-h sleep deprivation (SD) with a slowwave
sleep (SWS) EEG δ (1.0 to 4.0 Hz) power rebound like WT
littermates, spontaneous waking fails to induce a δ power reflecting
prior waking duration. This correlates with impaired θ (6.0 to
9.5 Hz) and fast-γ (55 to 80 Hz) activity in prior waking. We algorithmically
identify a theta-dominated wakefulness (TDW) substate
underlying motivated behaviors and typically preceding
cataplexy in Hcrtko/ko mice. Hcrtko/ko mice fully implement TDW
when waking is enforced, but spontaneous TDW episode duration
is greatly reduced. A reformulation of the classic sleep homeostasis
model, where homeostatic pressure rises exclusively in
TDW rather than all waking, predicts δ power dynamics both in
Hcrtko/ko and WT mouse baseline and recovery SWS. The low
homeostatic impact of Hcrtko/ko mouse spontaneous waking correlates
with decreased cortical expression of neuronal activityrelated
genes (notably Bdnf, Egr1/Zif268, and Per2). Thus, spontaneous
TDW stability relies on Hcrt to sustain θ/fast-γ network
activity and associated plasticity, whereas other arousal circuits
sustain TDW during SD. We propose that TDW identifies a discrete
global brain activity mode that is regulated by contextdependent
neuromodulators and acts as a major driver of sleep
homeostasis. Hcrt loss in Hcrtko/ko mice causes impaired TDW
maintenance in baseline wake and blunted δ power in SWS,
reproducing, respectively, narcolepsy excessive daytime sleepiness
and poor sleep quality.
Sleep deprivation (SD) can have a negative impact on cognitive function, but the mechanism(s) by which SD modulates memory remains unclear. We have previously shown that astrocyte-derived adenosine is a candidate molecule involved in the cognitive deficits following a brief period of SD (Halassa et al., 2009). In this study, we examined whether genetic disruption of soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attached protein (SNARE)-dependent exocytosis in astrocytes (dnSNARE mice) or pharmacological blockade of A1 receptor signaling using an adenosine A1 receptor (A1R) antagonist, 8-cyclopentyl-1,3-dimethylxanthine (CPT), could prevent the negative effects of 6 h of SD on hippocampal late-phase long-term potentiation (L-LTP) and hippocampus-dependent spatial object recognition memory. We found that SD impaired L-LTP in wild-type mice but not in dnSNARE mice. Similarly, this deficit in L-LTP resulting from SD was prevented by a chronic infusion of CPT. Consistent with these results, we found that hippocampus-dependent memory deficits produced by SD were rescued in dnSNARE mice and CPT-treated mice. These data provide the first evidence that astrocytic ATP and adenosine A1R activity contribute to the effects of SD on hippocampal synaptic plasticity and hippocampus-dependent memory, and suggest a new therapeutic target to reverse the hippocampus-related cognitive deficits induced by sleep loss.
Learning and memory are associated with the formation and modification of neuronal assemblies: populations of neurons that encode what has been learned and mediate memory retrieval upon recall. Functional studies of neuronal assemblies have progressed dramatically thanks to recent technological advances. Here we discuss how a focus on assembly formation and consolidation has provided a powerful conceptual framework to relate mechanistic studies of synaptic and circuit plasticity to behaviorally relevant aspects of learning and memory. Neurons are likely recruited to particular learning-related assemblies as a function of their relative excitabilities and synaptic activation, followed by selective strengthening of pre-existing synapses, formation of new connections and elimination of outcompeted synapses to ensure memory formation. Mechanistically, these processes involve linking transcription to circuit modification. They include the expression of immediate early genes and specific molecular and cellular events, supported by network-wide activities that are shaped and modulated by local inhibitory microcircuits.
Rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) has been linked with spatial and emotional memory consolidation. However, establishing direct causality between neural activity during REMS and memory consolidation has proven difficult because of the transient nature of REMS and significant caveats associated with REMS deprivation techniques. In mice, we optogenetically silenced medial septum γ-aminobutyric acid–releasing (MSGABA) neurons, allowing for temporally precise attenuation of the memory-associated theta rhythm during REMS without disturbing sleeping behavior. REMS-specific optogenetic silencing of MSGABA neurons selectively during a REMS critical window after learning erased subsequent novel object place recognition and impaired fear-conditioned contextual memory. Silencing MSGABA neurons for similar durations outside REMS episodes had no effect on memory. These results demonstrate that MSGABA neuronal activity specifically during REMS is required for normal memory consolidation.
Sleep deprivation is a public health epidemic that causes wide-ranging deleterious consequences, including impaired memory and cognition. Protein synthesis in hippocampal neurons promotes memory and cognition. The kinase complex mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) stimulates protein synthesis by phosphorylating and inhibiting the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding protein 2 (4EBP2). We investigated the involvement of the mTORC1-4EBP2 axis in the molecular mechanisms mediating the cognitive deficits caused by sleep deprivation in mice. Using an in vivo protein translation assay, we found that loss of sleep impaired protein synthesis in the hippocampus. Five hours of sleep loss attenuated both mTORC1-mediated phosphorylation of 4EBP2 and the interaction between eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) and eIF4G in the hippocampi of sleep-deprived mice. Increasing the abundance of 4EBP2 in hippocampal excitatory neurons before sleep deprivation increased the abundance of phosphorylated 4EBP2, restored the amount of eIF4E-eIF4G interaction and hippocampal protein synthesis to that seen in mice that were not sleep-deprived, and prevented the hippocampus-dependent memory deficits associated with sleep loss. These findings collectively demonstrate that 4EBP2-regulated protein synthesis is a critical mediator of the memory deficits caused by sleep deprivation.
The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway is a crucial cellular signaling hub that, like the nervous system itself, integrates internal and external cues to elicit critical outputs including growth control, protein synthesis, gene expression, and metabolic balance. The importance of mTOR signaling to brain function is underscored by the myriad disorders in which mTOR pathway dysfunction is implicated, such as autism, epilepsy, and neurodegenerative disorders. Pharmacological manipulation of mTOR signaling holds therapeutic promise and has entered clinical trials for several disorders. Here, we review the functions of mTOR signaling in the normal and pathological brain, highlighting ongoing efforts to translate our understanding of cellular physiology into direct medical benefit for neurological disorders.
How sleep helps learning and memory remains unknown. We report in mouse motor cortex that sleep after motor learning promotes the formation of postsynaptic dendritic spines on a subset of branches of individual layer V pyramidal neurons. New spines are formed on different sets of dendritic branches in response to different learning tasks and are protected from being eliminated when multiple tasks are learned. Neurons activated during learning of a motor task are reactivated during subsequent non-rapid eye movement sleep, and disrupting this neuronal reactivation prevents branch-specific spine formation. These findings indicate that sleep has a key role in promoting learning-dependent synapse formation and maintenance on selected dendritic branches, which contribute to memory storage.
Several studies have highlighted the frequency of sleep disturbances in Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, whether they are secondary to the disease or per se increase its risk remains to be fully investigated. The aim of the current investigation was to study the effect of sleep deprivation (SD) on the development of AD phenotype in a transgenic mouse model with plaques and tangles, the 3xTg mice. We evaluated the functional and biological consequences on 3xTg mice that underwent 4 hours sleep restrain per day for 8 weeks. Compared with controls, behavioral assessment showed that SD-treated mice had a significant decline in their learning and memory. Although no differences were detected in the levels of soluble amyloid-β peptides, the same animals displayed a decrease in tau phosphorylation, which associated with a significant increase in its insoluble fraction. In addition, we observed that SD resulted in lower levels of postsynaptic density protein 95 and increased glial fibrillary acidic protein levels. Finally, although total levels of the transcription factor cellular response element binding protein were unchanged, its phosphorylated form was significantly diminished in brains of sleep-deprived mice when compared with controls. Our study underlines the importance of SD as a chronic stressor, which by modulating biochemical processes influences the development of memory impairments and AD neuropathologies. Correction of SD could be a viable therapeutic strategy to prevent the onset or slow the progression of AD in individuals bearing this risk factor.
Sleep is a fundamental state necessary for maintenance of physical and neurological homeostasis throughout life. Several studies regarding the functions of sleep have been focused on effects of sleep deprivation on synaptic plasticity at a molecular and electrophysiological level, and only a few studies have studied sleep function from a structural perspective. Moreover, during normal aging, sleep architecture displays some changes that could affect normal development in the elderly. In this study, using a Golgi-Cox staining followed by Sholl analysis, we evaluate the effects of 24 h of total sleep deprivation on neuronal morphology of pyramidal neurons from Layer III of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the dorsal hippocampal CA1 region from male Wistar rats at two different ages (3 and 22 months). We found no differences in total dendritic length and branching length in both analyzed regions after sleep deprivation. Spine density was reduced in the CA1 of young-adults, and interestingly, sleep deprivation increased spine density in PFC of aged animals. Taken together, our results show that 24 h of total sleep deprivation have different effects on synaptic plasticity and could play a beneficial role in cognition during aging.
Sleep deprivation disrupts hippocampal function and plasticity. In particular, long-term memory consolidation is impaired by sleep deprivation, suggesting that a specific critical period exists following learning during which sleep is necessary. To elucidate the impact of sleep deprivation on long-term memory consolidation and synaptic plasticity, long-term memory was assessed when mice were sleep deprived following training in the hippocampus-dependent object place recognition task. We found that 3 hours of sleep deprivation significantly impaired memory when deprivation began 1 hour after training. In contrast, 3 hours of deprivation beginning immediately post-training did not impair spatial memory. Furthermore, a 3-hour sleep deprivation beginning 1 hour after training impaired hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP), whereas sleep deprivation immediately after training did not affect LTP. Together, our findings define a specific 3-hour critical period, extending from 1 to 4 hours after training, during which sleep deprivation impairs hippocampal function.
Despite the ubiquity of sleep across phylogeny, its function remains elusive. In this review, we consider one compelling candidate: brain plasticity associated with memory processing. Focusing largely on hippocampus-dependent memory in rodents and humans, we describe molecular, cellular, network, whole-brain and behavioral evidence establishing a role for sleep both in preparation for initial memory encoding, and in the subsequent offline consolidation of memory. Sleep and sleep deprivation bidirectionally alter molecular signaling pathways that regulate synaptic strength and control plasticity-related gene transcription and protein translation. At the cellular level, sleep deprivation impairs cellular excitability necessary for inducing synaptic potentiation and accelerates the decay of long-lasting forms of synaptic plasticity. In contrast, rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep enhance previously induced synaptic potentiation, although synaptic de-potentiation during sleep has also been observed. Beyond single cell dynamics, large-scale cell ensembles express coordinated replay of prior learning-related firing patterns during subsequent NREM sleep. At the whole-brain level, somewhat analogous learning-associated hippocampal (re)activation during NREM sleep has been reported in humans. Moreover, the same cortical NREM oscillations associated with replay in rodents also promote human hippocampal memory consolidation, and this process can be manipulated using exogenous reactivation cues during sleep. Mirroring molecular findings in rodents, specific NREM sleep oscillations before encoding refresh human hippocampal learning capacity, while deprivation of sleep conversely impairs subsequent hippocampal activity and associated encoding. Together, these cross-descriptive level findings demonstrate that the unique neurobiology of sleep exerts powerful effects on molecular, cellular and network mechanisms of plasticity that govern both initial learning and subsequent long-term memory consolidation.
The cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), and cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) transcriptional pathway is required for consolidation of hippocampus-dependent memory. In mice, this pathway undergoes a circadian oscillation required for memory persistence that reaches a peak during the daytime. Because mice exhibit polyphasic sleep patterns during the day, this suggested the interesting possibility that cAMP, MAPK activity, and CREB phosphorylation may be elevated during sleep. Here, we report that cAMP, phospho-p44/42 MAPK, and phospho-CREB are higher in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep compared with awake mice but are not elevated in non-REM sleep. This peak of activity during REM sleep does not occur in mice lacking calmodulin-stimulated adenylyl cyclases, a mouse strain that learns but cannot consolidate hippocampus-dependent memory. We conclude that a preferential increase in cAMP, MAPK activity, and CREB phosphorylation during REM sleep may contribute to hippocampus-dependent memory consolidation.
Sleep deprivation is a common problem of considerable health and economic impact in today's society. Sleep loss is associated with deleterious effects on cognitive functions such as memory and has a high comorbidity with many neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the molecular basis of the effect of sleep deprivation in the brain. In this study, we combined genome-wide and traditional molecular biological approaches to determine the cellular and molecular impacts of sleep deprivation in the mouse hippocampus, a brain area crucial for many forms of memory. Microarray analysis examining the effects of 5 h of sleep deprivation on gene expression in the mouse hippocampus found 533 genes with altered expression. Bioinformatic analysis revealed that a prominent effect of sleep deprivation was to downregulate translation, potentially mediated through components of the insulin signaling pathway such as the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a key regulator of protein synthesis. Consistent with this analysis, sleep deprivation reduced levels of total and phosphorylated mTOR, and levels returned to baseline after 2.5 h of recovery sleep. Our findings represent the first genome-wide analysis of the effects of sleep deprivation on the mouse hippocampus, and they suggest that the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation may be mediated by reductions in protein synthesis via downregulation of mTOR. Because protein synthesis and mTOR activation are required for long-term memory formation, our study improves our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the memory impairments induced by sleep deprivation.
Stress and restricted or disrupted sleep trigger adaptive responses in the brain at the level of gene transcription. We investigated the possible impact of chronic mild stress (CMS), acute sleep deprivation, and a combination of these in male rats on post-transcriptional mechanisms important for cognitive function and synaptic plasticity. Relationships between sleep architecture and translational regulators were also assessed. After four weeks of CMS, phosphorylation of two key translation factors, eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) and elongation factor 2 (eEF2), was enhanced in the prefrontal cortex, but unchanged in the hippocampus and dentate gyrus. Sleep deprivation decreased phosphorylated eIF4E in the dentate gyrus. In contrast, eEF2 phosphorylation was elevated in all brain regions after sleep deprivation. Thus, CMS and sleep deprivation, when given alone, have distinct region-specific effects. Furthermore, the combined treatment revealed striking interactions with eEF2 phosphorylation in which sleep deprivation counteracts the effect of CMS cortically and CMS modulates the effects of sleep deprivation in the hippocampus proper. Although CMS exposure alone had no effect in the hippocampus, it inhibited the sleep deprivation-induced eIF4E phosphorylation, while inducing phosphorylation of a major regulatory RNA-binding protein, cytoplasmic polyadenylation element-binding protein (CPEB) in the combined treatment. CMS had no effect on plasma corticosterone, but led to disruption of sleep. Sleep quality and sleep quantity in non-stressed animals showed predictive changes in eIF4E and eEF2 phosphorylation cortically. Prior exposure to CMS abolishes this relationship. We conclude that CMS and acute sleep deprivation have interactive and brain region-specific effects on translational regulators of relevance to mechanisms of stress responsiveness and sleep homeostasis.
Local rates of cerebral protein synthesis (ICPSleu), were determined with the autoradiographic L-[1-14C]leucine method in seven awake and seven asleep, adult rhesus monkeys conditioned to sleep in a restraining chair in a darkened, ventilated chamber while EEG, EOG, and EMG were monitored. Prior to the period of measurement all animals slept for 1–4 h. Controls were awakened after at least one period of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. Experimental animals were allowed to remain asleep, and they exhibited non-REM sleep for 71–99% of the experimental period. Statistically significant differences in ICPSleu between control and experimental animals were found in four of the 57 regions of brain examined, but these effects may have occurred by chance. In the sleeping animals, however, correlations between ICPSleu, and percent time in deep sleep were positive in all regions and were statistically significant (P≤ 0.05) in 35 of the regions. When time in deep sleep was weighted for the integrated specific activity of leucine in grey matter, positive correlations were statistically significant (P≤ 0.05) in 18 regions in the experimental animals. These results suggest that rates of protein synthesis are increased in many regions of the brain during deep sleep compared with light sleep.
Sleep deprivation is a common feature in modern society, and one of the consequences of sleep loss is the impairment of cognitive function. Although it has been widely accepted that sleep deprivation affects learning and memory, only recently has research begun to address which molecular signaling pathways are altered by sleep loss and, more importantly, which pathways can be targeted to reverse the memory impairments resulting from sleep deprivation. In this review, we discuss the different methods used to sleep deprive animals and the effects of different durations of sleep deprivation on learning and memory with an emphasis on hippocampus-dependent memory. We then review the molecular signaling pathways that are sensitive to sleep loss, with a focus on those thought to play a critical role in the memory and synaptic plasticity deficits observed after sleep deprivation. Finally, we highlight several recent attempts to reverse the effects of sleep deprivation on memory and synaptic plasticity. Future research building on these studies promises to contribute to the development of novel strategies to ameliorate the effects of sleep loss on cognition.
Sleep consolidates experience-dependent brain plasticity, but the precise cellular mechanisms mediating this process are unknown . De novo cortical protein synthesis is one possible mechanism. In support of this hypothesis, sleep is associated with increased brain protein synthesis [2, 3] and transcription of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) involved in protein synthesis regulation [4, 5]. Protein synthesis in turn is critical for memory consolidation and persistent forms of plasticity in vitro and in vivo [6, 7]. However, it is unknown whether cortical protein synthesis in sleep serves similar functions. We investigated the role of protein synthesis in the sleep-dependent consolidation of a classic form of cortical plasticity in vivo (ocular dominance plasticity, ODP; [8, 9]) in the cat visual cortex. We show that intracortical inhibition of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-dependent protein synthesis during sleep abolishes consolidation but has no effect on plasticity induced during wakefulness. Sleep also promotes phosphorylation of protein synthesis regulators (i.e., 4E-BP1 and eEF2) and the translation (but not transcription) of key plasticity related mRNAs (ARC and BDNF). These findings show that sleep promotes cortical mRNA translation. Interruption of this process has functional consequences, because it abolishes the consolidation of experience in the cortex.
Ubiquitous among eukaryotes, the ADF/cofilins are essential proteins responsible for the high turnover rates of actin filaments in vivo. In vertebrates, ADF and cofilin are products of different genes. Both bind to F-actin cooperatively and induce a twist in the actin filament that results in the loss of the phalloidin-binding site. This conformational change may be responsible for the enhancement of the off rate of subunits at the minus end of ADF/cofilin-decorated filaments and for the weak filament-severing activity. Binding of ADF/cofilin is competitive with tropomyosin. Other regulatory mechanisms in animal cells include binding of phosphoinositides, phosphorylation by LIM kinases on a single serine, and changes in pH. Although vertebrate ADF/cofilins contain a nuclear localization sequence, they are usually concentrated in regions containing dynamic actin pools, such as the leading edge of migrating cells and neuronal growth cones. ADF/cofilins are essential for cytokinesis, phagocytosis, fluid phase endocytosis, and other cellular processes dependent upon actin dynamics.
Alterations in cAMP signaling are thought to contribute to neurocognitive and neuropsychiatric disorders. Members of the cAMP-specific phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) family, which contains >25 different isoforms, play a key role in determining spatial cAMP degradation so as to orchestrate compartmentalized cAMP signaling in cells. Each isoform binds to a different set of protein complexes through its unique N-terminal domain, thereby leading to targeted degradation of cAMP in specific intracellular compartments. However, the functional role of specific compartmentalized PDE4 isoforms has not been examined in vivo Here, we show that increasing protein levels of the PDE4A5 isoform in mouse hippocampal excitatory neurons impairs a long-lasting form of hippocampal synaptic plasticity and attenuates hippocampus-dependent long-term memories without affecting anxiety. In contrast, viral expression of a truncated version of PDE4A5, which lacks the unique N-terminal targeting domain, does not affect long-term memory. Further, overexpression of the PDE4A1 isoform, which targets a different subset of signalosomes, leaves memory undisturbed. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer sensor-based cAMP measurements reveal that the full-length PDE4A5, in contrast to the truncated form, hampers forskolin-mediated increases in neuronal cAMP levels. Our study indicates that the unique N-terminal localization domain of PDE4A5 is essential for the targeting of specific cAMP-dependent signaling underlying synaptic plasticity and memory. The development of compounds to disrupt the compartmentalization of individual PDE4 isoforms by targeting their unique N-terminal domains may provide a fruitful approach to prevent cognitive deficits in neuropsychiatric and neurocognitive disorders that are associated with alterations in cAMP signaling.
Neurons exhibit localized signaling processes that enable biochemical cascades to be activated selectively in specific subcellular compartments. The phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) family coordinates the degradation of cAMP, leading to the local attenuation of cAMP-dependent signaling pathways. Sleep deprivation leads to increased hippocampal expression of the PDE4A5 isoform. Here, we explored whether PDE4A5 overexpression mimics behavioral and synaptic plasticity phenotypes associated with sleep deprivation. Viral expression of PDE4A5 in hippocampal neurons impairs long-term potentiation and attenuates the formation of hippocampus-dependent long-term memories. Our findings suggest that PDE4A5 is a molecular constraint on cognitive processes and may contribute to the development of novel therapeutic approaches to prevent cognitive deficits in neuropsychiatric and neurocognitive disorders that are associated with alterations in cAMP signaling.
It is well known that caffeine and sleep deprivation have opposing effects on learning and memory; therefore, this study was undertaken to determine the effects of chronic (4wks) caffeine treatment (0.3g/l in drinking water) on long-term memory deficit associated with 24h sleep deprivation. Animals were sleep deprived using the modified multiple platform method. The results showed that chronic caffeine treatment prevented the impairment of long-term memory as measured by performance in the radial arm water maze task and normalized L-LTP in area CA1 of the hippocampi of sleep-deprived anesthetized rats. Sleep deprivation prevents the high frequency stimulation-induced increases in the levels of phosphorylated-cAMP response element binding protein (P-CREB) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) seen during the expression of late phase long-term potentiation (L-LTP). However, chronic caffeine treatment prevented the effect of sleep-deprivation on the stimulated levels of P-CREB and BDNF. The results suggest that chronic caffeine treatment may protect the sleep-deprived brain probably by preserving the levels of P-CREB and BDNF.
Research on the role of the hippocampus in object recognition memory has produced conflicting results. Previous studies have used permanent hippocampal lesions to assess the requirement for the hippocampus in the object recognition task. However, permanent hippocampal lesions may impact performance through effects on processes besides memory consolidation including acquisition, retrieval, and performance. To overcome this limitation, we used an intrahippocampal injection of the GABA agonist muscimol to reversibly inactivate the hippocampus immediately after training mice in two versions of an object recognition task. We found that the inactivation of the dorsal hippocampus after training impairs object-place recognition memory but enhances novel object recognition (NOR) memory. However, inactivation of the dorsal hippocampus after repeated exposure to the training context did not affect object recognition memory. Our findings suggest that object recognition memory formation does not require the hippocampus and, moreover, that activity in the hippocampus can interfere with the consolidation of object recognition memory when object information encoding occurs in an unfamiliar environment.
Sleep is important for brain function and cognitive performance. Sleep deprivation (SD) may affect subsequent learning capacity and ability to form new memories, particularly in the case of hippocampus-dependent tasks. In the present study we examined whether SD for 6 or 12 h during the normal resting phase prior to learning affects hippocampus-dependent working memory in mice. In addition, we determined effects of SD on hippocampal glutamate alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptors and their regulatory pathways, which are crucially involved in working memory. After 12 h SD, but not yet after 6 h, spatial working memory in a novel arm recognition task was significantly impaired. This deficit was not likely due to stress as corticosterone levels after SD were not significantly different between groups. In parallel with the change in cognitive function, we found that 12 h SD significantly reduced hippocampal AMPA receptor phosphorylation at the GluR1-S845 site, which is important for incorporation of the receptors into the membrane. SD did not affect protein levels of cyclic-AMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) or phosphatase calcineurin (CaN), which regulate GluR1 phosphorylation. However, SD did reduce the expression of the scaffolding molecule A-kinase anchoring protein 150 (AKAP150), which binds and partly controls the actions of PKA and CaN. In conclusion, a relatively short SD during the normal resting phase may affect spatial working memory in mice by reducing hippocampal AMPA receptor function through a change in AKAP150 levels. Together, these findings provide further insight into the possible mechanism of SD-induced hippocampal dysfunction and memory impairment.
Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a protein kinase involved in translation control and long-lasting synaptic plasticity. mTOR functions as the central component of two multi-protein signaling complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2, which can be distinguished from each other based on their unique compositions and substrates. Although the majority of evidence linking mTOR function to synaptic plasticity comes from studies utilizing rapamycin, studies in genetically modified mice also suggest that mTOR couples receptors to the translation machinery for establishing long-lasting synaptic changes that are the basis for higher order brain function, including long-term memory. Finally, perturbation of the mTOR signaling cascade appears to be a common pathophysiological feature of human neurological disorders, including mental retardation syndromes and autism spectrum disorders.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that spatial regulation of cell signalling processes is critical to normal cellular function. In this regard, cAMP signalling regulates many pivotal cellular processes and has provided the paradigm for signal compartmentalization. Recent advances show that isoforms of the cAMP-degrading phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) family are targeted to discrete signalling complexes. There they sculpt local cAMP gradients that can be detected by genetically encoded cAMP sensors, and gate the activation of spatially localized signalling through sequestered PKA and EPAC sub-populations. Genes for these important regulatory enzymes are linked to schizophrenia, stroke and asthma, thus indicating the therapeutic potential that selective inhibitors could have as anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant and cognitive enhancer agents.
Millions of people regularly obtain insufficient sleep. Given the effect of sleep deprivation on our lives, understanding the cellular and molecular pathways affected by sleep deprivation is clearly of social and clinical importance. One of the major effects of sleep deprivation on the brain is to produce memory deficits in learning models that are dependent on the hippocampus. Here we have identified a molecular mechanism by which brief sleep deprivation alters hippocampal function. Sleep deprivation selectively impaired 3', 5'-cyclic AMP (cAMP)- and protein kinase A (PKA)-dependent forms of synaptic plasticity in the mouse hippocampus, reduced cAMP signalling, and increased activity and protein levels of phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4), an enzyme that degrades cAMP. Treatment of mice with phosphodiesterase inhibitors rescued the sleep-deprivation-induced deficits in cAMP signalling, synaptic plasticity and hippocampus-dependent memory. These findings demonstrate that brief sleep deprivation disrupts hippocampal function by interfering with cAMP signalling through increased PDE4 activity. Thus, drugs that enhance cAMP signalling may provide a new therapeutic approach to counteract the cognitive effects of sleep deprivation.
Astrocytes modulate neuronal activity by releasing chemical transmitters via a process termed gliotransmission. The role of this process in the control of behavior is unknown. Since one outcome of SNARE-dependent gliotransmission is the regulation of extracellular adenosine and because adenosine promotes sleep, we genetically inhibited the release of gliotransmitters and asked if astrocytes play an unsuspected role in sleep regulation. Inhibiting gliotransmission attenuated the accumulation of sleep pressure, assessed by measuring the slow wave activity of the EEG during NREM sleep, and prevented cognitive deficits associated with sleep loss. Since the sleep-suppressing effects of the A1 receptor antagonist CPT were prevented following inhibition of gliotransmission and because intracerebroventricular delivery of CPT to wild-type mice mimicked the transgenic phenotype, we conclude that astrocytes modulate the accumulation of sleep pressure and its cognitive consequences through a pathway involving A1 receptors.
Neuronal firing patterns, neuromodulators, and cerebral metabolism change across sleep-waking states, and the synaptic release of glutamate is critically involved in these processes. Extrasynaptic glutamate can also affect neural function and may be neurotoxic, but whether and how extracellular glutamate is regulated across sleep-waking states is unclear. To assess the effect of behavioral state on extracellular glutamate at high temporal resolution, we recorded glutamate concentration in prefrontal and motor cortex using fixed-potential amperometry in freely behaving rats. Simultaneously, we recorded local field potentials (LFPs) and electroencephalograms (EEGs) from contralateral cortex. We observed dynamic, progressive changes in the concentration of glutamate that switched direction as a function of behavioral state. Specifically, the concentration of glutamate increased progressively during waking (0.329 +/- 0.06%/min) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep (0.349 +/- 0.13%/min). This increase was opposed by a progressive decrease during non-REM (NREM) sleep (0.338 +/- 0.06%/min). During a 3 h sleep deprivation period, glutamate concentrations initially exhibited the progressive rise observed during spontaneous waking. As sleep pressure increased, glutamate concentrations ceased to increase and began decreasing despite continuous waking. During NREM sleep, the rate of decrease in glutamate was positively correlated with sleep intensity, as indexed by LFP slow-wave activity. The rate of decrease doubled during recovery sleep after sleep deprivation. Thus, the progressive increase in cortical extrasynaptic glutamate during EEG-activated states is counteracted by a decrease during NREM sleep that is modulated by sleep pressure. These results provide evidence for a long-term homeostasis of extracellular glutamate across sleep-waking states.
Using L-[1-14C]leucine autoradiography, rates of cerebral and local cerebral protein synthesis were studied during wakefulness, slow wave sleep (SWS) and REM sleep in the rat. In the cerebrum as a whole, the rate at which labelled leucine was incorporated into tissues was positively correlated with the occurrence of slow wave sleep. We failed to observe a significant correlation of protein synthesis rate with either wakefulness or REM sleep. As in the cerebrum as a whole, most discrete brain regions showed moderate positive correlations between the occurrence of SWS and rates of protein synthesis. There were no brain regions in which rates of protein synthesis showed striking correlations with sleep-wake states. Thus, the occurrence of SWS is associated with higher rates of protein synthesis throughout the brain. These data suggest that SWS sleep favors the restoration of cerebral proteins.
To explore the role of protein kinase A (PKA) in the late phase of long-term potentiation (L-LTP) and memory, we generated transgenic mice that express R(AB), an inhibitory form of the regulatory subunit of PKA, only in the hippocampus and other forebrain regions by using the promoter from the gene encoding Ca2+/ calmodulin protein kinase IIalpha. In these R(AB) transgenic mice, hippocampal PKA activity was reduced, and L-LTP was significantly decreased in area CA1, without affecting basal synaptic transmission or the early phase of LTP. Moreover, the L-LTP deficit was paralleled by behavioral deficits in spatial memory and in long-term but not short-term memory for contextual fear conditioning. These deficits in long-term memory were similar to those produced by protein synthesis inhibition. Thus, PKA plays a critical role in the consolidation of long-term memory.
Local rates of cerebral protein synthesis (ICPSleu) were determined with the autoradiographic L-[1-14C]leucine method in seven awake and seven asleep, adult rhesus monkeys conditioned to sleep in a restraining chair in a darkened, ventilated chamber while EEG, EOG, and EMG were monitored. Prior to the period of measurement all animals slept for 1-4 h. Controls were awakened after at least one period of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. Experimental animals were allowed to remain asleep, and they exhibited non-REM sleep for 71-99% of the experimental period. Statistically significant differences in ICPSleu between control and experimental animals were found in four of the 57 regions of brain examined, but these effects may have occurred by chance. In the sleeping animals, however, correlations between ICPSleu and percent time in deep sleep were positive in all regions and were statistically significant (P < or = 0.05) in 35 of the regions. When time in deep sleep was weighted for the integrated specific activity of leucine in grey matter, positive correlations were statistically significant (P < or = 0.05) in 18 regions in the experimental animals. These results suggest that rates of protein synthesis are increased in many regions of the brain during deep sleep compared with light sleep.
The protein kinase A pathway and the cyclic AMP-response element binding protein (CREB) appear to play a critical role in the consolidation of short-term changes in neuronal activity into long-term memory storage in a variety of systems ranging from the gill and siphon withdrawal reflex in Aplysia to olfactory conditioning in Drosophila to spatial and contextual learning in mice. In this review we describe the molecular machinery that mediates memory consolidation in each of these systems. One of the surprising findings to emerge, particularly from studies of long-term facilitation in Aplysia, is that memory storage is mediated by not only positive but also negative regulatory mechanisms, in much the same way as cell division is controlled by the proteins encoded by oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. This suggests the interesting possibility that there are memory suppressor genes whose protein products impede memory storage.
We have used a combined genetic and pharmacological approach to define the time course of the requirement for protein kinase A (PKA) and protein synthesis in long-term memory for contextual fear conditioning in mice. The time course of amnesia in transgenic mice that express R(AB) and have genetically reduced PKA activity in the hippocampus parallels that observed both in mice treated with inhibitors of PKA and mice treated with inhibitors of protein synthesis. This PKA- and protein synthesis-dependent memory develops between 1 hr and 3 hr after training. By injecting the protein synthesis inhibitor anisomycin or the PKA inhibitor Rp-cAMPs at various times after training, we find that depending on the nature of training, contextual memory has either one or two brief consolidation periods requiring synthesis of new proteins, and each of these also requires PKA. Weak training shows two time periods of sensitivity to inhibitors of protein synthesis and PKA, whereas stronger training exhibits only one. These studies underscore the parallel dependence of long-term contextual memory on protein synthesis and PKA and suggest that different training protocols may recruit a common signaling pathway in distinct ways.
This review synthesizes data from behavioral studies examining the role of sleep in memory storage with what is known about the molecular mechanisms of memory consolidation. There are striking similarities in the effects on memory storage of post-training pharmacological manipulations and post-training manipulations of sleep. For example, inhibition of protein synthesis is most effective if it occurs at a time post-training when rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is required for memory consolidation. The neurochemical changes that occur across sleep/wake states, especially the cholinergic changes that occur in the hippocampus during REM sleep, might provide a mechanism by which sleep modulates specific cellular signaling pathways involved in hippocampus-dependent memory storage.
The cAMP-responsive element binding protein (CREB) family of transcription factors is thought to be critical in memory formation. To define the role of CREB in distinct memory processes, we derived transgenic mice with an inducible and reversible CREB repressor by fusing CREBS133A to a tamoxifen (TAM)-dependent mutant of an estrogen receptor ligand-binding domain (LBD). We found that CREB is crucial for the consolidation of long-term conditioned fear memories, but not for encoding, storage or retrieval of these memories. Our studies also showed that CREB is required for the stability of reactivated or retrieved conditioned fear memories. Although the transcriptional processes necessary for the stability of initial and reactivated memories differ, CREB is required for both. The findings presented here delineate the memory processes that require CREB and demonstrate the power of LBD-inducible transgenic systems in the study of complex cognitive processes.
Much evidence indicates that, after learning, memories are created by alterations in glutamate-dependent excitatory synaptic transmission. These modifications are then actively stabilized, over hours or days, by structural changes at postsynaptic sites on dendritic spines. The mechanisms of this structural plasticity are poorly understood, but recent findings are beginning to provide clues. The changes in synaptic transmission are initiated by elevations in intracellular calcium and consequent activation of second messenger signalling pathways in the postsynaptic neuron. These pathways involve intracellular kinases and GTPases, downstream from glutamate receptors, that regulate and coordinate both cytoskeletal and adhesion remodelling, leading to new synaptic connections. Rapid changes in cytoskeletal and adhesion molecules after learning contribute to short-term plasticity and memory, whereas later changes, which depend on de novo protein synthesis as well as the early modifications, seem to be required for the persistence of long-term memory.
Many behavioral and electrophysiological studies in animals and humans have suggested that sleep and circadian rhythms influence memory consolidation. In rodents, hippocampus-dependent memory may be particularly sensitive to sleep deprivation after training, as spatial memory in the Morris water maze is impaired by rapid eye movement sleep deprivation following training. Spatial learning in the Morris water maze, however, requires multiple training trials and performance, as measured by time to reach the hidden platform is influenced by not only spatial learning but also procedural learning. To determine if sleep is important for the consolidation of a single-trial, hippocampus-dependent task, we sleep deprived animals for 0-5 and 5-10 h after training for contextual and cued fear conditioning. We found that sleep deprivation from 0-5 h after training for this task impaired memory consolidation for contextual fear conditioning whereas sleep deprivation from 5-10 h after training had no effect. Sleep deprivation at either time point had no effect on cued fear conditioning, a hippocampus-independent task. Previous studies have determined that memory consolidation for fear conditioning is impaired when protein kinase A and protein synthesis inhibitors are administered at the same time as when sleep deprivation is effective, suggesting that sleep deprivation may act by modifying these molecular mechanisms of memory storage.
Insufficient sleep impairs cognitive functions in humans and animals. However, whether long-term synaptic plasticity, a cellular substrate of learning and memory, is compromised by sleep loss per se remains unclear because of confounding factors related to sleep deprivation (SD) procedures in rodents. Using an ex vivo approach in C57BL/6J mice, we show that sleep loss rapidly and reversibly alters bidirectional synaptic plasticity in the CA1 area of the hippocampus. A brief (approximately 4 h) total SD, respecting the temporal parameters of sleep regulation and maintaining unaltered low corticosterone levels, shifted the modification threshold for long-term depression/long-term potentiation (LTP) along the stimulation frequency axis (1-100 Hz) toward the right. Reducing exposure to sensory stimuli by whisker trimming did not affect the SD-induced changes in synaptic plasticity. Recovery sleep reversed the effects induced by SD. When SD was combined with moderate stress, LTP induction was not only impaired but also occluded. Both electrophysiological analysis and immunoblotting of purified synaptosomes revealed that an alteration in the molecular composition of synaptically activated NMDA receptors toward a greater NR2A/NR2B ratio accompanied the effects of SD. This change was reversed after recovery sleep. By using an unparalleled, particularly mild form of SD, this study describes a novel approach toward dissociating the consequences of insufficient sleep on synaptic plasticity from nonspecific effects accompanying SD in rodents. We establish a framework for cellular models of cognitive impairment related to sleep loss, a major problem in modern society.
The properties of long-term potentiation (LTP) mirror those of associative memory in a number of interesting ways. Although plasticity at monosynaptic connections is not expected to account for the varied subtle characteristics of distributed memories, nonetheless it is important to establish how far the parallels can be drawn. Here, we briefly address whether properties of LTP such as its duration, reversibility, savings and reconsolidation relate to corresponding memory phenomena. We then address whether LTP stabilization in fact requires protein synthesis, as this has been challenged in recent times much like the necessity for protein synthesis in the consolidation of long-term memory has been queried. We conclude that the case is still very strong for a necessary role of protein synthesis in LTP stabilization, even though the identities of the synthesized proteins and their contributions to the LTP process are not fully understood. However, we highlight areas of research that could be usefully conducted to further our understanding of the properties and protein synthesis-dependence of LTP.
Enduring forms of synaptic plasticity and memory require new protein synthesis, but little is known about the underlying regulatory mechanisms. Here, we investigate the role of MAPK signaling in these processes. Conditional expression of a dominant-negative form of MEK1 in the postnatal murine forebrain inhibited ERK activation and caused selective deficits in hippocampal memory retention and the translation-dependent, transcription-independent phase of hippocampal L-LTP. In hippocampal neurons, ERK inhibition blocked neuronal activity-induced translation as well as phosphorylation of the translation factors eIF4E, 4EBP1, and ribosomal protein S6. Correspondingly, protein synthesis and translation factor phosphorylation induced in control hippocampal slices by L-LTP-generating tetanization were significantly reduced in mutant slices. Translation factor phosphorylation induced in the control hippocampus by memory formation was similarly diminished in the mutant hippocampus. These results suggest a crucial role for translational control by MAPK signaling in long-lasting forms of synaptic plasticity and memory.