Direct link between REM sleep loss and the desire for sugary and fatty foods discovered
It is not well understood what role sleep loss plays in affecting areas of the brain that control the desire to consume unhealthy foods.
A new paper published in the journal eLife finds that rapid eye movement (REM) sleep loss leads to increased consumption of unhealthy foods, specifically sucrose and fat.
The researchers at the University of Tsukuba's International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine used a new method to produce REM sleep loss in mice along with a chemical-genetic technique to block prefrontal cortex neurons and the behaviors they mediate.
As a result, the researchers discovered that inhibiting these neurons reversed the effect of REM sleep loss on sucrose consumption while having no effect on fat consumption.
REM sleep is a unique phase of sleep in mammals that is closely associated with dreaming and characterized by random eye movement and almost complete paralysis of the body.
The prefrontal cortex plays a role in judging the palatability of foods through taste, smell and texture. Moreover, persons who are obese tend to have increased activity in the prefrontal cortex when exposed to high calorie foods.
Learn More: A new player in appetite control
"Our results suggest that the medial prefrontal cortex may play a direct role in controlling our desire to consume weight promoting foods, high in sucrose content, when we are lacking sleep," says Kristopher McEown, the lead author on this project.
Note: Material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.
McEown K et al. Chemogenetic inhibition of the medial prefrontal cortex reverses the effects of REM sleep loss on sucrose consumption. eLife, Published December 5 2016. doi: 10.7554/eLife.20269
Researchers Democratize Neuroscience by Making it Easier to Share Brain Imaging DataNews
Researchers have developed a set of tools to make one critical area of big data research — that of our central nervous system — easier to share.READ MORE
Neuroscientists Identify The Retrosplenial Cortex as an Integrator of Vision and Head MovementNews
Study highlights role of primary visual cortex in integrating head and visual movement signalsREAD MORE
So Hot it Hurts: Ion channel trio underlying painful heat sensation foundNews
Researchers show that acute noxious heat sensing in mice depends on a triad of transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channels: TRPM3, TRPV1, and TRPA1.READ MORE