Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered that the production of certain cells, which are crucial to repairing the brain, is boosted during sleep, several media outlets reported this week.
The Sept. 4 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience published the animal study. The bottom line is that during sleep special brain cells, called oligodendrocytes, make myelin, which is the protective layer around brain, according to IANSlive.com.
The article compared myelin to the insulation that electrical wires haves, adding that myelin facilitates electric signals moving smoothly from one brain cell to another,
The hope is that the study’s findings will deepen the knowledge researchers have about sleep’s function in brain repair and growth.
In the study Dr. Chiara Cirelli and her fellow researchers at the University of Wisconsin tracked gene activity in oligodendrocytes from mice that were either allowed to sleep or forced to stay awake. The genes that boost the production of myelin were activated during sleep, whereas the genes that cause the death of cells and stress on them were triggered when the mice stayed awake.
So lack of sleep may stymie the brain’s efforts to repair itself.