Study Objectives: The main energy reserve of the brain is glycogen, which is almost exclusively localized in astrocytes. We previously reported that cerebral expression of certain genes related to glycogen metabolism changed following instrumental sleep deprivation in mice. Here, we extended our investigations to another set of genes related to glycogen and glucose metabolism. We also compared the effect of instrumentally and pharmacologically induced prolonged wakefulness, followed (or not) by 3 hours of sleep recovery, on the expression of genes related to brain energy metabolism.
Design: Sleep deprivation for 6-7 hours.
Setting: Animal sleep research laboratory.
Participants: Adults OF1 mice.
Interventions: Wakefulness was maintained by “gentle sleep deprivation” method (GSD) or by administration of the wakefulness-promoting drug modafinil (MOD) (200 mg/kg i.p.).
Measurements and Results: Levels of mRNAs encoding proteins related to energy metabolism were measured by quantitative real-time PCR in the cerebral cortex. The mRNAs encoding protein targeting to glycogen (PTG) and the glial glucose transporter were significantly increased following both procedures used to prolong wakefulness. Glycogenin mRNA levels were increased only after GSD, while neuronal glucose transporter mRNA only after MOD. These effects were reversed after sleep recovery. A significant enhancement of glycogen synthase activity without any changes in glycogen levels was observed in both conditions.
Conclusions: These results indicate the existence of a metabolic adaptation of astrocytes aimed at maintaining brain energy homeostasis during the sleep-wake cycle.
Keywords: Energy metabolism, astrocytes, glycogen, glucose, psychostimulant, wakefulness