Experimental sleep fragmentation impairs attentional set-shifting in rats.

TitleExperimental sleep fragmentation impairs attentional set-shifting in rats.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsMcCoy JG, Tartar JL, Bebis AC, Ward CP, McKenna JT, Baxter MG, McGaughy J, McCarley RW, Strecker RE
Date Published2007 Jan
KeywordsAnimals, Appetitive Behavior, Attention, Color Perception, Discrimination Learning, Motivation, Psychomotor Performance, Rats, Rats, Inbred BN, Reaction Time, Reversal Learning, Set (Psychology), Sleep Deprivation, Sleep Stages, Smell

STUDY OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of experimental sleep fragmentation (sleep interruption; SI) on complex learning in an intradimensional-extradimensional (ID/ED) set-shifting task in rats.

DESIGN: A sleep fragmentation paradigm of intermittent forced locomotion was validated in adult rats by examining electrographic effects. Discrimination task performances were assessed in rats following sleep fragmentation or 2 control conditions.

PARTICIPANTS: 41 young adult male Fischer-Norway rats.

INTERVENTION: A treadmill was used to produce 30 awakenings/h for the 24-h period prior to testing. Exercise control rats received an equivalent amount of treadmill-induced locomotion that permitted 30-minute pauses to allow consolidated sleep.

MEASUREMENT AND RESULTS: SI rats were selectively impaired on the extradimensional-shift phase of the task, taking significantly more trials to achieve criterion performance (15.4 +/- 2.0) than either control group (cage control = 10.4 +/- 0.9; exercise control = 6.3 +/- 0.2). The SI schedule reduced the average duration of nonREM sleep (NREMS) episodes to 56 s (baseline = 182 s), while the exercise control group increased average NREMS episode duration to 223 s. Total (24-h) NREMS time declined from 50% during baseline to 33% during SI, whereas rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) was absent in SI animals (7% during baseline and 0% during SI), and time spent awake increased proportionally (from 43% during baseline to 67% during SI).

CONCLUSION: 24-hour SI produced impairment in an attentional set-shifting that is comparable to the executive function and cognitive deficits observed in humans with sleep apnea or after a night of experimental sleep fragmentation.

Alternate JournalSleep
PubMed ID17310865