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J Neurochem. 2004 Jan;88(1):32-40.

Glycogen in the brain of Drosophila melanogaster: diurnal rhythm and the effect of rest deprivation.

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Center for Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4283, USA.


One function of sleep is thought to be the restoration of energy stores in the brain depleted during wakefulness. One such energy store found in mammalian brains is glycogen. Many of the genes involved in glycogen regulation in mammals have also been found in Drosophila melanogaster and rest behavior in Drosophila has recently been shown to have the characteristics of sleep. We therefore examined, in the fly, variation in the glycogen contents of the brain, the whole head and the body throughout the rest/activity cycle and after rest deprivation. Glycogen in the brain varies significantly throughout the day (p=0.001) and is highest during rest and lowest while flies are active. Glycogen levels in the whole head and body do not show diurnal variation. Brain glycogen drops significantly when flies are rest deprived for 3 h (p=0.034) but no significant differences are observed after 6 h of rest deprivation. In contrast, glycogen is significantly depleted in the body after both 3 and 6 h of rest deprivation (p<0.0001 and p<0.0001, respectively). Glycogen in the fly brain changes in relationship to rest and activity and demonstrates a biphasic response to rest deprivation similar to that observed in mammalian astrocytes in culture.

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