Cells of the hypothalamus is necessary for normal sleep.
Two decades ago a group of researchers from the medical center Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston and is a teaching hospital of Harvard medical school, found in the brain concentrations of nerve cells, which, according to scientists, could be a kind of “switches”, which translate brain into sleep mode. And only recently, this hypothesis was confirmed, informs Rus.Media.
In a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, a team of scientists has proven that the cells located in the hypothalamus, it intrauteralno preoptičeskoj the nucleus (VLPO), is actually necessary for normal sleep.
“Our work is only the first test of what happens when you have the VLPO neurons are activated. The obtained results confirm our initial assumption that cells of the hypothalamus is necessary for normal sleep.” – said the study’s lead author, doctor of medical Sciences, Clifford Sapper.
The study team conducted tests on laboratory mice, in which cells of the VLPO are activated through a variety of ways. In the first case, the activation area was by means of a laser beam, “illuminating” them (this process is called optogenetics). In another experiment, the team used a special chemical substance for the selective activation of neurons in the VLPO. In fact, and in another case, activation of VLPO cells led to sleep.
“We found that when cells are stimulated VLPO one to four times per second, they work every time and animals coming to sleep. However, if you stimulate them more, they eventually lose their function and stop working. In the end, the experimental animals developed insomnia. It may be the key to a deeper understanding of this process and the development of new therapies.”
In addition, the team of Dr. Sapper also found that the activation of VLPO cells on top causes a decrease in body temperature. Has long been known that during sleep the body temperature falls. But now it became clear what specific area of the brain is responsible for this.