Brain-mapping technique aids understanding of sleep, wakefulness

provided Dr. Yanagisawa and his research group new hope for navigating the neural network.

The technique involves genetically engineering mice to produce a "tracer" protein only in a certain population of neurons. The tracer, a nontoxic fragment of the tetanus toxin, transfers itself from one neuron in retrograde fashion to neurons "upstream" -- those from which the tracer-producing neuron receives signals. Researchers then track the tracer to map the upstream neurons.

Dr. Yanagisawa and his colleagues are the first to apply the technique in order to study a specific neural pathway. They introduced the tracer into mice so that it was expressed only in orexin neurons, which are found in a part of the brain called the lateral hypothalamus. The researchers found that some of the upstream neurons in the anterior hypothalamus, known to be active only during sleep, send inhibitory signals to orexin neurons preventing them from releasing orexin.

"Neurons producing orexin keep you awake, and they also stabilize wakefulness," Dr. Yanagisawa said. "In order to fall sleep, you somehow must inhibit these orexin neurons. It appears that sleep-active neurons in a specific region of the brain are doing just that, keeping the animals asleep."

The researchers also found that during wakefulness, orexin neurons activate cells in other parts of the brain that negatively feed back to the sleep-active neurons in the anterior hypothalamus, keeping them from becoming active.

"This makes perfect sense," said Dr. Yanagisawa, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at UT Southwestern. "When one group of neurons is active, the other group must be inactive, and vice versa. It's a seesaw, or flip-flop, mechanism. That's important because you don't want to be half-asleep. You want to be either completely awake or completely asleep."

Another finding from the Neuron study may help explain why once you're awake and moving around, you tend to stay awake,

Contact: Amanda Siegfried
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Innovative tagging technique may help researchers better protect fish stocks
2. Innovative research technique reveals another natural wonder in Yellowstone Park
3. New techniques redefine assessment of liver disease
4. New technique will produce a better chromosome map
5. Researchers develop technique for bacteria crowd control
6. Bioluminescence at the service of a novel cerebral imaging technique
7. Natural antibiotics yield secrets to atom-level imaging technique
8. New imaging technique tracks traffic patterns of white blood cells
9. Vet College gets grant to develop fish virus diagnostic technique
10. Harvard team creates spray drying technique for TB vaccine
11. Novel laboratory technique nudges genes into activity

Post Your Comments:

(Date:9/30/2015)... global glucose monitoring device and diabetes management market is valued ... on the industry from Kalorama Information. Sales in the traditional glucose ... continuous glucose monitoring and sensor segment, according to the healthcare ... in its latest report, The Global Glucose Monitoring Market ... , ...
(Date:9/28/2015)... Sept. 28, 2015  The monitoring of vital ... body temperature, is an essential component of patient ... of deterioration in a patient,s condition. However, in ... are typically taken during routine observation rounds only ... patient deteriorates between these observation rounds, the warning ...
(Date:9/26/2015)... Sept. 26th, 2015  Results of a TactioRPM ... unveiled today at the Stanford Medicine X Conference. ... iPad Dashboards, Connected Health Devices and Pharmacogenomics", ... 3.0, will explain how senior patients equipped with ... their pharmacist via the TactioRPM remote patient monitoring ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/8/2015)... DURHAM, N.C. and WAYNE, Pa. ... leading management and technology consulting firm, has announced the ... Pennsylvania , majoring in a ... awarded over a two-year period. In addition, the selected ... industry through mentoring with Clarkston Consulting and participation in ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... 2015 Global Biologics and ... and Biosimilars industry . --> Big ... Biosimilars Industry 2015 Deep Market Research Report, Size, ... professional and depth research report on Global ... ) , --> http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20141014/710132 ) , ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... WASHINGTON , Oct. 8, 2015  The ALS ... The ALS Assistive Technology Challenge to revolutionize communication technology ... --> --> ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) ... cells) in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, ... control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis ...
(Date:10/8/2015)...  Sigma-Aldrich Corporation (NASDAQ: SIAL ) announced ... its Applied Diagnostics and Testing business segment has ... line with ten certified Snap-N-Spike ® solutions ... their stable-labeled internal standards. These new solution certified ... acid and native and deuterium-labeled analogs of cholic ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: