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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Dec 12;103(50):19170-5. Epub 2006 Nov 29.

Sleep deprivation inhibits adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus by elevating glucocorticoids.

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Department of Psychology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544.


Prolonged sleep deprivation is stressful and has been associated with adverse consequences for health and cognitive performance. Here, we show that sleep deprivation inhibits adult neurogenesis at a time when circulating levels of corticosterone are elevated. Moreover, clamping levels of this hormone prevents the sleep deprivation-induced reduction of cell proliferation. The recovery of normal levels of adult neurogenesis after chronic sleep deprivation occurs over a 2-wk period and involves a temporary increase in new neuron formation. This compensatory increase is dissociated from glucocorticoid levels as well as from the restoration of normal sleep patterns. Collectively, these findings suggest that, although sleep deprivation inhibits adult neurogenesis by acting as a stressor, its compensatory aftereffects involve glucocorticoid-independent factors.

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