Anemia in Sleep-Deprived Rats Receiving Anticoagulants

Science  29 Oct 1971:
Vol. 174, Issue 4008, pp. 505-507
DOI: 10.1126/science.174.4008.505


Independent groups of rats were deprived of sleep and treated with the anticoagulant drugs phenylindanedione or dicoumarol for 1 to 8 days. These animals developed an extremely severe anemia which was accelerated by p-chlorophenylalanine. The red cell count and amount of hemoglobin decreased to half of normal values. No decrease occurred in animals subjected to any one single treatment. Histological examination indicated hemolysis, hypoplasia of hemopoietic organs, slight hemorrhage, but no evidence of stress. The severity of the anemia was inversely related to the amount of sleep permitted during sleep deprivation. This new syndrome demonstrates marked effects of sleep deprivation on both maturation and destruction of red blood cells. Depletion of serotonin by injection of parachlorophenylalanine blocked the increase in amount of brain waves of the type commonly seen in slow wave sleep but did not eliminate the production of these waves. This result is at variance with the theory that serotonin is the neurochemical responsible for the "priming" of slow wave sleep.