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

Scientists become research subjects in after-hours brain-scanning project

July 27, 2017
A quest to analyze the unique features of individual human brains evolved into the so-called Midnight Scan Club, a group of scientists who had big ideas but almost no funding and little time to research the trillions of neural ...

In witnessing the brain's 'aha!' moment, scientists shed light on biology of consciousness

July 27, 2017
Columbia scientists have identified the brain's 'aha!' moment—that flash in time when you suddenly become aware of information, such as knowing the answer to a difficult question. Today's findings in humans, combined with ...

Scientists block evolution's molecular nerve pruning in rodents

July 27, 2017
Researchers investigating why some people suffer from motor disabilities report they may have dialed back evolution's clock a few ticks by blocking molecular pruning of sophisticated brain-to-limb nerve connections in maturing ...

Social influences can override aggression in male mice, study shows

July 27, 2017
Stanford University School of Medicine investigators have identified a cluster of nerve cells in the male mouse's brain that, when activated, triggers territorial rage in a variety of situations. Activating the same cluster ...

Researchers reveal unusual chemistry of protein with role in neurodegenerative disorders

July 27, 2017
A common feature of neurodegenerative diseases is the formation of permanent tangles of insoluble proteins in cells. The beta-amyloid plaques found in people with Alzheimer's disease and the inclusion bodies in motor neurons ...

Mother's brain reward response to offspring reduced by substance addiction

July 27, 2017
Maternal addiction and its effects on children is a major public health problem, often leading to high rates of child abuse, neglect and foster care placement. In a study published today in the journal Human Brain Mapping, ...

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.