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Penn researchers identify the roots of memory impairment resulting from sleep deprivation
Date:5/17/2011

ine triphosphate, or ATP, the chemical by which cells transfer energy to one another. And the pharmacological experiment shows where the adenosine goes: the A1 receptor in the hippocampus.

The knowledge that interrupting the pathway at either end results in mice that show no memory impairments is a major step forward in understanding how to manage those impairments in humans.

"To be able to reverse a particular aspect of sleep-deprivation, such as its effect on memory storage, we really want to understand the molecular pathways and targets," Abel said. "Here, we've identified the molecule, the cellular circuit and the brain region by which sleep deprivation affects memory storage."

Such treatments would be especially enticing, given how sensitive the brain is to sleep deprivation's effects.

"Our sleep deprivation experiments are the equivalent of losing half of a night sleep for a single night," Abel said. "Most of us would think that's pretty minor, but it shows just how critical the need for sleep is for things like cognition."


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Contact: Evan Lerner
elerner@upenn.edu
215-573-6604
University of Pennsylvania
Source:Eurekalert

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