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Indirect epidemiological and experimental evidence suggest that the severity of injury during stroke is influenced by prior sleep history. The aim of our study was to test the effect of acute sleep deprivation on early outcome following experimental stroke. Young male Sprague-Dawley rats (n=20) were subjected to focal cerebral ischemia by reversible right middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) for 90 min. In 10 rats, MCAO was performed just after 6-h of total sleep deprivation (TSD) by "gentle handling", whereas the other rats served as controls. Neurological function during the first week after stroke was monitored using a battery of behavioral tests investigating the asymmetry of sensorimotor deficit (tape removal test and cylinder test), bilateral sensorimotor coordination (rotor-rod and Inclined plane) and memory (T-maze and radial maze). Following MCAO, control rats had impaired behavioral performance in all tests. The largest impairment was noted in the tape test where the tape removal time from the left forelimb (contralateral to MCAO) was increased by approximately 10 fold (p<0.01). In contrast, rats subjected to TSD had complete recovery of sensorimotor performance consistent with a 2.5 fold smaller infarct volume and reduced morphological signs of neuronal injury at day 7 after MCAO. Our data suggest that brief TSD induces a neuroprotective response that limits the severity of a subsequent stroke, similar to rapid ischemic preconditioning.

Original publication




Journal article


Exp Neurol

Publication Date





135 - 143


Animals, Caspase 3, Cerebral Infarction, Disease Models, Animal, Fluoresceins, Gait Disorders, Neurologic, Infarction, Middle Cerebral Artery, Male, Maze Learning, Motor Activity, Nerve Degeneration, Organic Chemicals, Phosphopyruvate Hydratase, Psychomotor Performance, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Rotarod Performance Test, Sleep Deprivation, Statistics as Topic