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Sleep. 2007 Jan;30(1):52-60.

Experimental sleep fragmentation impairs attentional set-shifting in rats.

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  • 1VA Boston Healthcare System and Harvard Medical School, Brockton, MA 02301, USA.

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the effect of experimental sleep fragmentation (sleep interruption; SI) on complex learning in an intradimensional-extradimensional (ID/ED) set-shifting task in rats.

DESIGN:

A sleep fragmentation paradigm of intermittent forced locomotion was validated in adult rats by examining electrographic effects. Discrimination task performances were assessed in rats following sleep fragmentation or 2 control conditions.

PARTICIPANTS:

41 young adult male Fischer-Norway rats.

INTERVENTION:

A treadmill was used to produce 30 awakenings/h for the 24-h period prior to testing. Exercise control rats received an equivalent amount of treadmill-induced locomotion that permitted 30-minute pauses to allow consolidated sleep.

MEASUREMENT AND RESULTS:

SI rats were selectively impaired on the extradimensional-shift phase of the task, taking significantly more trials to achieve criterion performance (15.4 +/- 2.0) than either control group (cage control = 10.4 +/- 0.9; exercise control = 6.3 +/- 0.2). The SI schedule reduced the average duration of nonREM sleep (NREMS) episodes to 56 s (baseline = 182 s), while the exercise control group increased average NREMS episode duration to 223 s. Total (24-h) NREMS time declined from 50% during baseline to 33% during SI, whereas rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) was absent in SI animals (7% during baseline and 0% during SI), and time spent awake increased proportionally (from 43% during baseline to 67% during SI).

CONCLUSION:

24-hour SI produced impairment in an attentional set-shifting that is comparable to the executive function and cognitive deficits observed in humans with sleep apnea or after a night of experimental sleep fragmentation.

PMID:
17310865
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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