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Browsing by Subject "DeltaFosB"

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  • Lindberg, Maiju (2023)
    As the most common mental disorder, anxiety disorders present a major burden to healthcare worldwide and a challenging problem to overcome for the ones suffering from it. Recently, researchers have started to recognize that the relationship between sleep and anxiety disorders is bidirectional; disturbed sleep is a potential risk factor for the progression of anxiety and anxiety can lead to sleep disturbances. However, the neural mechanisms underlying anxiety and sleep problems are still poorly recognized. In this study, we used a chronic sleep fragmentation (SF) paradigm to investigate how disturbed sleep alters anxiety-like behavior in mice and what are the potential underlying neuronal mechanisms. This model was chosen because we wanted to focus on a common form of disturbed sleep in humans rather than total sleep deprivation. We measured anxiety-like behavior in the light-dark box and open field tests right after the 2-week SF period and again after a week of recovery. Additionally, we performed immunohistochemical analysis to study prolonged cell activity (transcription factor ∆FosB), parvalbumin (PV) interneurons and perineuronal net (PNN) structures in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) of the mice. Changes in mPFC activity and related brain areas are associated to anxiety in humans and anxiety-like behavior in rodents alike. Similarly, changes in PV interneurons and PNNs, that regulates PV cell function, are associated to anxiety-like behavior. However, PV interneurons and PNNs have not been previously studied in a setting that combines sleep fragmentation and anxiety-like behavior. We found that chronic SF increases anxiety-like behavior in female mice and that this effect persists at least for a week. Conversely, we did not observe significant increase in anxiety-like behavior in male mice. Both female and male mice showed decrease in ∆FosB in the mPFC suggesting that SF treated mice had lower overall levels of cell activity. Similarly, we found that SF treated mice had decreased PV interneuron intensity in both sexes which could indicate changes in the cell activity. However, the pattern of changes in the IHC results was not identical in males and females. Based on the IHC results, we suggest that SF affects neuronal processes in both sexes but the disparity in them could explain the difference in the behavioral effect. This thesis shows that disturbed sleep can lead to increased anxiety-like behavior in rodent models and recognizes potential targets to study the mechanisms behind the phenomena.