Sleep as a synaptic architect: How sleep loss influences memory and synaptic plasticity

Frank Raven

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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Due to the increasing economic and social pressure to be available outside normal working hours, many people do not get enough sleep. One of the negative consequences of sleep deprivation is impaired memory formation. Memories are formed using a structure located in the temporal lobe of the brain called the hippocampus. Even a single night of sleep deprivation can cause memory problems, which is reflected by a loss of connections between brain cells (neurons), within the hippocampus. The aim of this project was to investigate how hippocampus-dependent memory formation is influenced by sleep deprivation and day-night rhythm. For this purpose, we used mice as a model, as the structure of the human hippocampus is comparable to the one of mice, and because they go through the same sleep phases (REM, non-REM sleep).
The results from this thesis suggest that the effects of sleep deprivation on the neuronal connections can differ per brain area, and may even differ in one particular brain structure, such as the hippocampus. We also showed that memory problems after sleep deprivation are not mediated by stress hormones. Furthermore, these data indicate that the formation of new proteins plays an important role for memory storage immediately after a learning task up to 8 hours later, irrespective of timing of training. Understanding how sleep deprivation causes memory problems will hopefully lead to more awareness of the biological necessity of sleep and the importance of allowing enough time for it in this modern society.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • van der Zee, Eddy, Supervisor
  • Havekes, Robbert, Co-supervisor
  • Meerlo, Peter, Co-supervisor
Award date11-Sep-2020
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-94-034-2857-4
Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-2858-1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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