Mouse Gambling Task reveals differential effects of acute sleep debt on decision-making and associated neurochemical changes

Sleep. 2018 Nov 1;41(11):zsy168. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsy168.


Sleep loss is associated with sleepiness, sustained attention, and memory deficits. However, vulnerability of higher cognitive processes (i.e. decision making) to sleep debt is less understood. Therefore, a major challenge is to understand why and how higher cognitive processes are affected by sleep debt. We had established in mice correlations between individual decision-making strategies, prefrontal activity, and regional monoaminergic levels. Now, we show that acute sleep debt (ASD) disturbs decision-making processes and provokes brain regional modifications of serotonin and dopamine that could explain why ASD promotes inflexible and more risk-prone behaviors. Finally, we highlight, for the first time, that in a large group of healthy inbred mice some of them are more sensitive to ASD by showing inflexible behavior and decision-making deficits. We were also able to predict mice that would be the most vulnerable to ASD depending of their behavior before ASD exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Gambling / metabolism*
  • Gambling / psychology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Prefrontal Cortex / chemistry*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism*
  • Serotonin / metabolism
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Sleep Deprivation / metabolism*
  • Sleep Deprivation / psychology


  • Serotonin
  • Dopamine