About Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Sleep Deficits Among Fruit Flies may Disrupt Mating Later in Life

by Dr. Enozia Vakil on April 18, 2014 at 11:14 PM
Font : A-A+

 Sleep Deficits Among Fruit Flies may Disrupt Mating Later in Life

When your mom emphasized about having a good night's sleep, she was right. According to a new study published in Science this week from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, lack of sleep in young fruit flies profoundly diminishes their ability to do one thing they do really, really well - make more flies.

The study, led by Amita Sehgal PhD, professor of Neuroscience and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator, links sleep disruption in newborn fruit flies with a critical adult behavior: courtship and mating.

Advertisement

The team, addressed sleep in the very youngest of flies. "These flies sleep considerably more than adults and that behavior repeats across the animal kingdom," Sehgal says. "Infant humans, rats, and flies, they all sleep a lot."

Co-author Matthew Kayser, MD, PhD, in the Department of Psychiatry and Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology, whose research centers on the link between sleep disruption and human neuropsychiatric diseases, used the fly - which is far more genetically pliant than mammals -- to ask two basic questions: Why do young animals sleep so much? And, what is the implication of altering those patterns?
Advertisement

The team used genetically manipulated flies to show that young flies normally produce relatively little dopamine - a wake-promoting neurotransmitter -- in certain neural circuits that feed into the sleep-promoting brain region called the dorsal fan-shaped body (dFSB). Premature activation of those circuits profoundly inhibits the dFSB, reducing sleep.

That answers the first question, Sehgal explains: Young flies make less dopamine, which keeps the dFSB active and sleep levels high. These animals sleep more than adults and are harder to rouse from sleep.

Some clues to the second question - what is the consequence of sleep loss - came from Kayser's finding that increased dopamine in young flies not only causes sleep loss, but also affects their ability to court when they're older. "The flies spend less time courting, and those that do usually don't make it all the way to the end," Sehgal says.

To address whether sleep loss in young flies affects development of courtship circuits, the team investigated a group of neurons implicated in courtship. One particular subset of those neurons, localized in a specific brain region called VA1v, was smaller in sleep-deprived animals than normal flies, suggesting a possible mechanism for how sleep deprivation can lead to altered courting behavior.

That sleep-deprived flies have altered behavior is not itself a novel finding, Sehgal notes. Earlier studies from her lab and others used mechanical disruption to alter sleep patterns, but in the current study, Sehgal's team was able to drill down to the specific neural network that is affected. "We identified the circuit that is less active in young flies. If you activate that circuit, you disrupt courtship by impairing the development of a different, courtship-relevant circuit."

The question now is how these findings relate to human behavior - Kayser's original question. Though no direct lines can be drawn, the study "does provide the first mechanistic link between sleep in early life and adult behavior," says Sehgal.



Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
What's New on Medindia
Organ Donation Week 2022 - 'Take the Pledge to Save Lives'
Test your Knowledge on Heart Transplantation
Test Your Knowledge on Lung Transplantation
View all
Recommended Reading
News Archive
Date
Category
Advertisement
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Snoring Sleep Disorder : Restless Legs Syndrome Sleep Disorder: Sleepwalking Periodic Limb Movement Disorder REM Behavior Disorder Sleep Disturbances In Women Sleep Insomnia Obstructive Sleep Apnea Sleep Disorders: A Prelude 

Most Popular on Medindia

Hearing Loss Calculator Turmeric Powder - Health Benefits, Uses & Side Effects Pregnancy Confirmation Calculator Vent Forte (Theophylline) Noscaphene (Noscapine) Loram (2 mg) (Lorazepam) Drug Interaction Checker Find a Doctor Indian Medical Journals A-Z Drug Brands in India
This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use