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Ann Neurosci. 2012 Oct;19(4):161-4. doi: 10.5214/ans.0972.7531.190405.

Effect of REM sleep deprivation on the antioxidant status in the brain of Wistar rats.

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Department of Physiology Chettinad Hospital and Research Institute, Kelambakkam, Tamil Nadu 603 103;
Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600 116.



Rapid eye movement [REM] sleep deprivation is a stressor. It results in a predictable syndrome of physiological changes in rats. It has been proposed that reactive oxygen species and the resulting oxidative stress may be responsible for some of the effects of sleep deprivation.


The present study was undertaken to investigate the reversible nature of the effects of 96 hours of REM sleep deprivation on lipid peroxidation and total reduced glutathione level in the hypothalamus, midbrain and hindbrain of Wistar strain rats.


The rats were deprived of REM sleep using the inverted flowerpot technique. All the animals were maintained in standard animal house condition with 12-h light and 12-h dark cycles. At the end of the stipulated time Jugular venous blood sample of 2 ml was collected under mild ether anesthesia for the assay of stress index, plasma corticosterone. Lipid peroxidation using thiobarbituric acid, total reduced glutathione using DTNB (GSH) were assayed in the brain regions dissected out.


This study showed that 96 hours of REM sleep deprivation results in increased lipid peroxidation and reduction in total reduced glutathione level in the discrete regions of brain studied. However following restorative sleep for 24 hours all the changes reverts back to base line value. This study shows that oxidative stress produced by 96 hours of REM sleep deprivation is reversible.


From this study it is clear that, REM sleep deprivation is a potent oxidative stressor. This could probably play a role in the behavioral and performance alteration seen in both experimental animals as well as humans following REM sleep deprivation. Further investigations in this line are needed to highlight the importance of REM sleep.


Free radicals; Hindbrain; Hypothalamus; Midbrain; REM sleep

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