Acute sleep deprivation immediately increases serum GDNF, BDNF and VEGF levels in healthy subjects

Sleep Biol Rhythms. 2021 Jul 15;20(1):73-79. doi: 10.1007/s41105-021-00341-w. eCollection 2022 Jan.


Acute sleep deprivation upregulates hippocampal neurogenesis. Neurotrophic factors such as glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are mediators of neuronal plasticity and neurogenesis. These neurotrophins are involved in sleep and sleep disorders and are associated with sleep deprivation. In this study, it is aimed to investigate the changes of neurotrophin levels with total sleep deprivation in healthy individuals. Seventeen healthy young adults with a mean age of 19.8 (SD = 1.0) years underwent an experimental protocol consisting of 36 h of total sleep deprivation. Venous blood samples were obtained on Day1 at 09.00, on Day2 at 09.00, and at 21.00. Serum levels of neurotrophins were detected using the ELISA method. The participants were asked to mark the scores corresponding to their subjective energy, happiness, depression, tension levels on the visual analog scale; and sleepiness level on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale; during the course of the study. As a result of 36 h of sleep deprivation, serum GDNF, BDNF, and VEGF levels showed a statistically significant increase compared to the baseline values in the participants included in the study (P < 0.0001). While this increase was evident in 24 h, it continued after 36 h. In parallel, sleepiness levels, subjective depression, and tension levels increased, on the other hand, subjective energy and happiness scores decreased at a statistically significant level at the end of the study compared to basal values (P < 0.0001). The results show that acute sleep deprivation significantly affects and increases serum levels of neurotrophic factors, and it seems that these effects are likely to occur as an immediate response to the stress and disruption caused by sleep deprivation.

Keywords: BDNF; GDNF; Sleep deprivation; VEGF.