Sleep loss causes brain vulnerability to toxic elements

June 10, 2014

To answer the question of why we have to sleep, research conducted at the Mexican Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM) revealed that chronic sleep loss can cause certain neurotoxic molecules, which normally circulate in the blood, to be transported to the central nervous system and interfere with the function of neurons.

Beatriz Gómez González, professor and researcher at UAM and head of the scientific project, explained that this arises due to an alteration in the central called blood-brain barrier, which is the component responsible for protecting the brain from potentially neurotoxic agents.

Through the induction of on some animals, the specialist at UAM and his staff corroborated that during periods of insomnia, joints vessels in the blood-brain barrier began to degrade. "We observed that some elements could cross that barrier and reach the brain tissue itself," explained the researcher.

By entering the brain, some nerve agents could potentially affect and even promote neuron death. For example, the specialist said, an agent called monosodium glutamate found in a wide range of processed foods may cause neuronal damage by overactivation of these cells (excitotoxicity), although the range of neurotoxic agents circulating in the blood is very extensive.

Furthermore, the research group at UAM studied the risks that could arise as a result of the administration of some drugs to the increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier induced by chronic sleep loss. Gómez González said that, based on some studies, it has been confirmed that some second-generation antihistamines permeate into the brain tissue when this phenomenon occurs.

"Although manufacturers of antibiotic drugs or second-generation antihistamines ensure that these do not affect brain function, there is evidence that these may impact on the when there is an increase in the permeability of the ," said the researcher. This phenomenon may cause some unwanted excitotoxicity effects in neurons, drowsiness, behavioral changes and even neuronal death.

Another phenomenon reported by researchers at UAM, with the induction of sleep loss in animals is the increased number of pinocytotic vesicles in cells. These relate to certain folds of a cell elements and capture materials found in the bloodstream; but this phenomenon may increase the risk of neurotoxic elements entering the . "The animals that have been induced sleeplessness develop up to three times these vesicles compared to animals in natural state."

Explore further: Team moves small-molecule drugs through blood-brain barrier

Related Stories

Team moves small-molecule drugs through blood-brain barrier

June 4, 2014
Researchers at Mayo Clinic have demonstrated in a mouse model that their recently developed synthetic peptide carrier is a potential delivery vehicle for brain cancer chemotherapy drugs and other neurological medications. ...

Study IDs new cause of brain bleeding immediately after stroke

April 17, 2014
By discovering a new mechanism that allows blood to enter the brain immediately after a stroke, researchers at UC Irvine and the Salk Institute have opened the door to new therapies that may limit or prevent stroke-induced ...

Sleep to protect your brain

December 31, 2013
A new study from Uppsala University, Sweden, shows that one night of sleep deprivation increases morning blood concentrations of NSE and S-100B in healthy young men. These molecules are typically found in the brain. Thus, ...

Why inflammation leads to a leaky blood-brain barrier: MicroRNA-155

June 2, 2014
Until now, scientists have not known exactly how inflammation weakens the Blood-Brain Barrier, allowing toxins and other molecules access to the brain. A new research report appearing in the June 2014 issue of The FASEB Journal ...

Researchers decode how the brain miswires, possibly causing ADHD

June 4, 2014
Neuroscientists at Mayo Clinic in Florida and at Aarhus University in Denmark have shed light on why neurons in the brain's reward system can be miswired, potentially contributing to disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity ...

New method for efficiently transporting antibodies across the blood-brain barrier reported

January 8, 2014
Today the scientific journal Neuron published results on the Roche-designed Brain Shuttle technology that efficiently transfers investigational antibodies from the blood through the blood-brain barrier (BBB) into the brain ...

Recommended for you

Study reveals breakthrough in decoding brain function

September 25, 2017
If there's a final frontier in understanding the human body, it's definitely not the pinky. It's the brain.

After 15 years in a vegetative state, nerve stimulation restores consciousness

September 25, 2017
A 35-year-old man who had been in a vegetative state for 15 years after a car accident has shown signs of consciousness after neurosurgeons implanted a vagus nerve stimulator into his chest. The findings reported in Current ...

Overturning widely held ideas: Visual attention drawn to meaning, not what stands out

September 25, 2017
Our visual attention is drawn to parts of a scene that have meaning, rather than to those that are salient or "stick out," according to new research from the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis. ...

A brain system that builds confidence in what we see, hear and touch

September 25, 2017
A series of experiments at EPFL provide conclusive evidence that the brain uses a single mechanism (supramodality) to estimate confidence in different senses such as audition, touch, or vision. The study is published in the ...

Brain guides body much sooner than previously believed

September 25, 2017
The brain plays an active and essential role much earlier than previously thought, according to new research from Tufts University scientists which shows that long before movement or other behaviors occur, the brain of an ...

The rat race is over: New livestock model for stroke could speed discovery

September 25, 2017
It is well-known in the medical field that the pig brain shares certain physiological and anatomical similarities with the human brain. So similar are the two that researchers at the University of Georgia's Regenerative Bioscience ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.