Glycogen content in the cerebral cortex increases with sleep loss in C57BL/6J mice

Neurosci Lett. 2006 Jul 10;402(1-2):176-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2006.03.072. Epub 2006 Apr 27.


We hypothesized that a function of sleep is to replenish brain glycogen stores that become depleted while awake. We have previously tested this hypothesis in three inbred strains of mice by measuring brain glycogen after a 6h sleep deprivation (SD). Unexpectedly, glycogen content in the cerebral cortex did not decrease with SD in two of the strains and was even found to increase in mice of the C57BL/6J (B6) strain. Manipulations that initially induce glycogenolysis can also induce subsequent glycogen synthesis thereby elevating glycogen content beyond baseline. It is thus possible that in B6 mice, cortical glycogen content decreased early during SD and became elevated later in SD. In the present study, we therefore measured changes in brain glycogen over the course of a 6 h SD and during recovery sleep in B6 mice. We found no evidence of a decrease at any time during the SD, instead, cortical glycogen content monotonically increased with time-spent-awake and, when sleep was allowed, started to revert to control levels. Such a time-course is opposite to the one predicted by our initial hypothesis. These results demonstrate that glycogen synthesis can be achieved during prolonged wakefulness to the extent that it outweighs glycogenolysis. Maintaining this energy store seems thus not to be functionally related to sleep in this strain.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism*
  • Glycogen / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Sleep Deprivation / metabolism
  • Sleep Deprivation / pathology*
  • Time Factors


  • Glycogen