Chronic short sleep and neurodegeneration

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Science  11 Jan 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6423, pp. 138
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6423.138-b

The locus ceruleus is a brain region that is critical for optimal cognitive performance and brain health. Its neurons degenerate during mild cognitive impairment and the early stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Zhu et al. investigated the role of chronic sleep deprivation on the protein tau, which is found abundantly in the brain and is associated with AD. In mice, a shortage of sleep in early life advanced the temporal progression of toxic tau accumulation, worsened neurobehavioral impairment, and increased the abundance of soluble tau oligomers within the locus ceruleus and other regions. Lack of sleep promoted neurodegeneration in the locus ceruleus and other tau-affected areas, and the effects persisted for months. Chronic sleep disruption may thus contribute to the progression of AD and related diseases.

J. Neurosci. 38, 10255 (2018).

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