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Blood and brain magnesium in inbred mice and their correlation with sleep quality.

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Biochemistry and Neurophysiology Unit, Department of Psychiatry, University of Geneva, 1225 Geneva, Switzerland.


A strong genetic component in the regulation of blood magnesium (Mg) levels has been demonstrated. The regulation and distribution of brain Mg levels, however, have never been assessed. Herein we report on the genetic variation of peripheral and central Mg levels in six inbred strains of mice. In addition, the possible involvement of Mg in sleep regulation was assessed by establishing correlations between Mg and sleep parameters obtained before and after a 6-h sleep deprivation. Although genotype strongly determined blood Mg levels, it did not affect brain Mg, suggesting that central and peripheral Mg are regulated differently. Central Mg displayed a highly structure-specific distribution with frontal cortex having the highest and brain stem the lowest values. Whereas for the amount and distribution of baseline sleep only marginal correlations with Mg were found, Mg contents in four of nine brain structures were highly positively correlated with the length of slow-wave sleep episodes during recovery. This relationship suggests that higher levels of Mg in specific brain sites promote sleep quality as part of a recovery process.

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