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Cerebral blood flow changes after a day of wake, sleep, and sleep deprivation

Research group Van Someren
Publication year 2019
Published in NeuroImage
Authors Torbjørn Elvsåshagen, Henri Jmm Mutsaerts, Nathalia Zak, Linn B Norbom, Sophia H Quraishi, Per Ø Pedersen, Ulrik F Malt, Lars T Westlye, Eus Van Someren, Atle Bjørnerud, Inge R Groote

Elucidating the neurobiological effects of sleep and wake is an important goal of the neurosciences. Whether and how human cerebral blood flow (CBF) changes during the sleep-wake cycle remain to be clarified. Based on the synaptic homeostasis hypothesis of sleep and wake, we hypothesized that a day of wake and a night of sleep deprivation would be associated with gray matter resting CBF (rCBF) increases and that sleep would be associated with rCBF decreases. Thirty-eight healthy adult males (age 22.1 ± 2.5 years) underwent arterial spin labeling perfusion magnetic resonance imaging at three time points: in the morning after a regular night’s sleep, the evening of the same day, and the next morning, either after total sleep deprivation (n = 19) or a night of sleep (n = 19). All analyses were adjusted for hematocrit and head motion. rCBF increased from morning to evening and decreased after a night of sleep. These effects were most prominent in bilateral hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus, and in the occipital and sensorimotor cortices. Group × time interaction analyses for evening versus next morning revealed significant interaction in bilateral lateral and medial occipital cortices and in bilateral insula, driven by rCBF increases in the sleep deprived individuals and decreases in the sleepers, respectively. Furthermore, group × time interaction analyses for first morning versus next morning showed significant effects in medial and lateral occipital cortices, in anterior cingulate gyrus, and in the insula, in both hemispheres. These effects were mainly driven by CBF increases from TP1 to TP3 in the sleep deprived individuals. There were no associations between the rCBF changes and sleep characteristics, vigilant attention, or subjective sleepiness that remained significant after adjustments for multiple analyses. Altogether, these results encourage future studies to clarify mechanisms underlying sleep-related rCBF changes.

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