Sleep deprivation impairs cAMP signalling in the hippocampus

Vecsey, Christopher and Baillie, George and Jaganath, Devan and Havekes, Robbert and Daniels, Andrew and Wimmer, Mathieu and Huang, Ted and Brown, Kim and Li, Xiang-Yao and Descalzi, Giannina and Kim, Susan and Chen, Tao and Shang, Yu-Ze and Zhuo, Min and Houslay, Miles and Abel, Ted (2009) Sleep deprivation impairs cAMP signalling in the hippocampus. Nature, 461. pp. 1122-1125. ISSN 0028-0836

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Abstract

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, cyclic AMP (cAMP)- and protein kinase A (PKA)-dependent forms of synaptic plasticity6 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 hippo-campal 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.