Well known for their ability to promote the survival and outgrowth of neurons during development of the brain, neurotrophic factors also serve multiple functions in the adult brain. For example, the modulation of neurotransmitter signaling and neurogenesis by neurotrophic factors may play a role in learning and memory. Important roles for neurotrophic factors in sleep regulation and sleep disorders are suggested by circadian variations in their expression and alterations in their expression in animal models of phase shift and sleep deprivation. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) may play particularly important roles in sleep regulation and sleep disorders because of its reciprocal interactions with serotonin, and its involvement in depression and anxiety disorders. Perturbed neurotrophic factor signaling occurs in neurodegenerative disorders in which sleep disturbance is prominent including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's diseases. A better understanding of the roles of neurotrophic factor signaling in sleep regulation may lead to novel approaches for preventing and treating sleep disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology