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A Single Binge Drinking Episode Affects Gene that Regulates Sleep

Summary: Researchers report a single instance of binge drinking could alter a gene associated with sleep regulation.

Source: University of Missouri-Columbia.

One in six U.S. adults binge drinks at least four times a month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Previous studies have linked binge drinking to sleep disruption. Now, new findings from the University of Missouri School of Medicine explain how a single episode of binge drinking can affect the gene that regulates sleep, leading to sleep disruption in mice. The finding may shed light on how sleep problems can contribute to alcoholism in humans.

“Sleep is a serious problem for alcoholics,” said Mahesh Thakkar, PhD, professor and director of research in the MU School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology and lead author of the study. “If you binge drink, the second day you will feel sleep deprived and will need to drink even more alcohol to go to sleep. It is a dangerous cycle. How can we stop this cycle or prevent it before it begins? To answer that question, we need to understand the mechanisms involved.”

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The finding may shed light on how sleep problems can contribute to alcoholism in humans. NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.

Using a mouse model, Thakkar monitored the effect of binge drinking on sleep patterns. Thakkar found mice exposed to binge drinking experienced a significant increase in non-rapid eye movement sleep four hours post-binge, followed by increased wakefulness and reduced sleep during subsequent sleep periods. Thakkar also discovered post-binge mice did not experience an increase in a sleep promoting chemical, adenosine, in the brain nor increased sleep pressure during sleep deprivation. The research also revealed binge alcohol consumption affects the gene that regulates sleep, resulting in sleep disturbances.

“What we have shown in this research is that a particular gene — which is very important for sleep homeostasis — is altered by just one session of binge drinking,” Thakkar said. “We were not expecting this. We thought it would be affected after multiple sessions of binge drinking, not one. That tells you that as soon as you consume four drinks, it can alter your genes.”

About this neuroscience research article

In addition to Thakkar, the study authors include Pradeep K. Sahota, MD, chair of neurology at the MU School of Medicine; and Rishi Sharma, PhD, assistant research professor of neurology at the MU School of Medicine. Their study, “Binge Drinking Disrupts Sleep Homeostasis,” was recently published by the Journal of Neurochemistry.

Funding:Research reported in this publication was supported by the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital and the Department of Veterans Affairs Merit Research Award number I01BX002661.

The authors of the study declare that they have no conflicts of interest. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies.

Source: Eric Maze – University of Missouri-Columbia
Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Abstract for “A single episode of binge alcohol drinking causes sleep disturbance, disrupts sleep homeostasis and downregulates equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1” by Rishi Sharma, Pradeep Sahota, and Mahesh M. Thakkar in Journal of Neurochemistry. Published May 27 2018
doi:10.1111/jnc.14470

Cite This NeuroscienceNews.com Article

University of Missouri-Columbia “A Single Binge Drinking Episode Affects Gene that Regulates Sleep.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 19 June 2018.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/binge-drinking-sleep-gene-9383/>.
University of Missouri-Columbia (2018, June 19). A Single Binge Drinking Episode Affects Gene that Regulates Sleep. NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved June 19, 2018 from http://neurosciencenews.com/binge-drinking-sleep-gene-9383/
University of Missouri-Columbia “A Single Binge Drinking Episode Affects Gene that Regulates Sleep.” http://neurosciencenews.com/binge-drinking-sleep-gene-9383/ (accessed June 19, 2018).

Abstract

A single episode of binge alcohol drinking causes sleep disturbance, disrupts sleep homeostasis and downregulates equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1

Binge alcohol drinking, a risky pattern of alcohol consumption, has severe consequences toward health and well‐being of an individual, his family and society. Although, binge drinking has detrimental effects on sleep, underlying mechanisms are unknown. We used adult male C57BL/6J mice and exposed them to a single, four‐hour session of binge alcohol self‐administration, in stress‐free environment, to examine neuronal mechanisms affecting sleep.

We first verified binge pattern of alcohol consumption. When allowed to self‐administer alcohol in a non‐stressful environment, mice consumed alcohol in a binge pattern. Next, effect of binge drinking on sleep‐wakefulness was monitored. While sleep‐wakefulness remained unchanged during drinking session, significant increase in non‐rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep was observed during 4 hours of active period post‐binge, followed by increased wakefulness, reduced sleep during subsequent sleep (light) period; although the timing of sleep onset (at lights‐on) remained unaffected. Next, electrophysiological and biochemical indicators of sleep homeostasis were examined using sleep deprivation‐recovery sleep paradigm. Mice exposed to binge‐drinking did not show an increase in cortical theta power and basal forebrain adenosine levels during sleep deprivation; NREM sleep and NREM delta power did not increase during recovery sleep suggesting that mice exposed to binge alcohol do not develop sleep pressure. Our final experiment examined expression of genes regulating sleep homeostasis following binge drinking. While binge drinking did not affect adenosine kinase and A1 receptor, expression of equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (ENT1) was significantly reduced. These results suggest that binge alcohol consumption‐induced downregulation of ENT1 expression may disrupt sleep homeostasis and cause sleep disturbances.

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