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Biomed Sci Instrum. 2012;48:202-9.

Modeling the effect of exogenous melatonin on the sleep-wake switch.

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1
Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences.

Abstract

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, insufficient sleep has become a public health epidemic. Approximately 50-70 million adults (20 years or older) suffer from some disorder of sleep and wakefulness, hindering daily functioning and adversely affecting health and longevity. Melatonin, a naturally produced hormone which plays a role in sleep-wake regulation, is currently offered as an over-the-counter sleep aid. However, the effects of melatonin on the sleep-wake cycle are incompletely understood. The goal of this modeling study was to incorporate the effects of exogenous melatonin administration into a mathematical model of the human sleep-wake switch. The model developed herein adds a simple kinetic model of the MT1 melatonin receptor to an existing model which simulates the interactions of different neuronal groups thought to be involved in sleep-wake regulation. Preliminary results were obtained by simulating the effects of an exogenous melatonin dose typical of over-the-counter sleep aids. The model predicted an increase in homeostatic sleep drive and a resulting alteration in circadian rhythm consistent with experimental results. The time of melatonin administration was also observed to have a strong influence on the sleep-wake effects elicited, which is also consistent with prior experimental findings.

PMID:
22846284

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