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Neuroscience. 2003;116(1):187-200.

Differential increase in the expression of heat shock protein family members during sleep deprivation and during sleep.

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Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, SRI International, 333 Ravenswood Avenue, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA.


Although sleep is thought to be restorative from prior wakeful activities, it is not clear what is being restored. To determine whether the synthesis of macromolecules is increased in the cerebral cortex during sleep, we subjected C57BL/6 mice to 6 hours of sleep deprivation and then screened the expression of 1176 genes of known function by using cDNA arrays. The expression of the heat shock proteins (HSP), endoplasmic reticulum protein (ERp72) and glucose-regulated protein (GRp78), was among the genes whose expression was significantly elevated in the cortex during sleep deprivation, whereas GRp78 and GRp94 mRNAs were elevated in the cortex during recovery sleep after sleep deprivation, as confirmed by conventional and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and/or Northern analyses. A systematic evaluation of the expression of six heat shock protein family members (ERP72, GRp78, GRp94, HSP27, HSP70-1, and HSP84) in seven brain regions revealed increased mRNA levels in cortex, basal forebrain, hypothalamus, cerebellum and medulla during sleep deprivation, whereas increased mRNA levels during recovery sleep were limited to the cortex and medulla. Immunohistochemical studies identified increased numbers of GRp78-, GRp94-, and ERp72-immunoreactive cells in the dorsal and lateral cortex during sleep deprivation but, during recovery sleep, elevated numbers of these cells were found only in the lateral cortex. In the medulla, increased numbers of GRp94-immunoreactive cells were observed in nucleus tractus solitarius, dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus and the rostroventrolateral medulla during recovery sleep. The widespread increase of heat shock protein family mRNAs in brain during sleep deprivation may be a neuroprotective response to prolonged wakefulness. In contrast, the relatively limited heat shock protein family mRNA expression during recovery sleep may be related to the role of heat shock proteins in protein biogenesis and thus to the restorative function of sleep.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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