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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2010;669:289-92. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4419-5692-7_59.

Sleep loss reduces respiratory motor plasticity.

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Department of Cell and Systems Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Sleep loss leads to deficits in neuroplasticity that underlie important physiological functions such as learning and memory. However, the influence of sleep loss on respiratory motor plasticity is unclear. In this study, we examined the influence of sleep loss on plasticity of upper airway motor outflow induced by repeated obstructive apneas. Here, we demonstrate that repeated airway obstructions, as experienced during obstructive apnea (OSA), induce a long-term enhancement of upper airway respiratory muscle activity, and that short-term sleep deprivation (6 hours) reduces the magnitude of this response. Our results suggest that respiratory motor plasticity may be reduced or minimized in disease conditions that are characterized by abnormal sleep disturbances (e.g., OSA).

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