The Neuroscience of Regulating Sleep Duration

This is the Medscape Neurology Minute. I’m Dr Alan Jacobs. Researchers from the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Medicine and the RIKEN Quantitative Biology Center have published and tested a simple computational model of calcium hyperpolarization, which regulates the electrophysiologic characteristics of sleep duration.[1] They tested their model in genetically modified mice that had genes involved in calcium regulation knocked out, causing changes in sleep duration. They showed that impaired calcium and potassium channels, and calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinases, all of which impair calcium inflow into neurons, decreased sleep duration, while impaired membrane calcium ATPase, which pumps calcium ions out of neurons, increased sleep duration. They also showed that impaired NMDA receptors reduce sleep duration and directly increase the excitability of cells. The authors concluded that a calcium-dependent hyperpolarization pathway underlies…

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