Spatial transcriptomics reveals unique gene expression changes in different brain regions after sleep deprivation

Nat Commun. 2023 Nov 4;14(1):7095. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-42751-z.


Sleep deprivation has far-reaching consequences on the brain and behavior, impacting memory, attention, and metabolism. Previous research has focused on gene expression changes in individual brain regions, such as the hippocampus or cortex. Therefore, it is unclear how uniformly or heterogeneously sleep loss affects the brain. Here, we use spatial transcriptomics to define the impact of a brief period of sleep deprivation across the brain in male mice. We find that sleep deprivation induced pronounced differences in gene expression across the brain, with the greatest changes in the hippocampus, neocortex, hypothalamus, and thalamus. Both the differentially expressed genes and the direction of regulation differed markedly across regions. Importantly, we developed bioinformatic tools to register tissue sections and gene expression data into a common anatomical space, allowing a brain-wide comparison of gene expression patterns between samples. Our results suggest that distinct molecular mechanisms acting in discrete brain regions underlie the biological effects of sleep deprivation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Sleep / genetics
  • Sleep Deprivation* / genetics
  • Transcriptome*