The Effect of Sleep on Agouti-Related Peptide (AgRP) Neuron Activity

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Description
"To ensure survival, an animal must prioritize different competing drives depending on homeostatic need. For example, an animal must obtain an optimal amount of food and sleep, yet cannot engage in both behaviors at the same time. In mammals, food seeking behavior is regulated by agouti-related peptide (AgRP) neurons in the hypothalamus. Past research in the Carter lab has shown that AgRP activation can lead to both poorer quality and shorter duration of sleep, suggesting that AgRP neurons decrease the drive to sleep when an animal is hungry1. However, it is unknown whether the inverse is also true: whether sleep inhibits activity in AgRP neurons. This thesis tested the hypothesis that sleep decreases activity in AgRP neurons in food deprived mice. Mice were either fed ad libitum, food deprived for 24 hours, or food deprived and sleep deprived and then allowed to sleep for 2 hours. Neural activity was assessed in AgRP neurons using immunostaining for Fos, an indirect marker of neural activity. Sleep in food and sleep deprived mice eliminated Fos expression in AgRP neurons, demonstrating that sleep is able to inhibit the activation of AgRP neurons. Behaviorally, this inhibition of AgRP neurons may act to allow sleeping mice to sleep for longer and with higher quality without hunger signals keeping them awake. These results illuminate the interconnectedness of the neural circuits in the brain that control our hierarchy of needs."

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OBJ OBJ datastream * 17.53 MiB application/pdf 2021-05-28
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