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Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 2015;25:151-81. doi: 10.1007/7854_2013_251.

Sleep and adult neurogenesis: implications for cognition and mood.

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Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada.


The hippocampal dentate gyrus plays a critical role in learning and memory throughout life, in part by the integration of adult-born neurons into existing circuits. Neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus is regulated by numerous environmental, physiological, and behavioral factors known to affect learning and memory. Sleep is also important for learning and memory. Here we critically examine evidence from correlation, deprivation, and stimulation studies that sleep may be among those factors that regulate hippocampal neurogenesis. There is mixed evidence for correlations between sleep variables and rates of hippocampal cell proliferation across the day, the year, and the lifespan. There is modest evidence that periods of increased sleep are associated with increased cell proliferation or survival. There is strong evidence that disruptions of sleep exceeding 24 h, by total deprivation, selective REM sleep deprivation, and chronic restriction or fragmentation, significantly inhibit cell proliferation and in some cases neurogenesis. The mechanisms by which sleep disruption inhibits neurogenesis are not fully understood. Although sleep disruption procedures are typically at least mildly stressful, elevated adrenal corticosterone secretion is not necessary for this effect. However, procedures that prevent both elevated corticosterone and interleukin 1β signaling have been found to block the effect of sleep deprivation on cell proliferation. This result suggests that sleep loss impairs hippocampal neurogenesis by the presence of wake-dependent factors, rather than by the absence of sleep-specific processes. This would weigh against a hypothesis that regulation of neurogenesis is a function of sleep. Nonetheless, impaired neurogenesis may underlie some of the memory and mood effects associated with acute and chronic sleep disruptions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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