The relationship between fasting-induced torpor, sleep, and wakefulness in laboratory mice.
Huang Y-G., Flaherty SJ., Pothecary CA., Foster RG., Peirson SN., Vyazovskiy VV.
STUDY OBJECTIVES: Torpor is a regulated and reversible state of metabolic suppression used by many mammalian species to conserve energy. Whereas the relationship between torpor and sleep has been well-studied in seasonal hibernators, less is known about the effects of fasting-induced torpor on states of vigilance and brain activity in laboratory mice. METHODS: Continuous monitoring of electroencephalogram (EEG), electromyogram (EMG), and surface body temperature was undertaken in adult, male C57BL/6 mice over consecutive days of scheduled restricted feeding. RESULTS: All animals showed bouts of hypothermia that became progressively deeper and longer as fasting progressed. EEG and EMG were markedly affected by hypothermia, although the typical electrophysiological signatures of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and wakefulness enabled us to perform vigilance-state classification in all cases. Consistent with previous studies, hypothermic bouts were initiated from a state indistinguishable from NREM sleep, with EEG power decreasing gradually in parallel with decreasing surface body temperature. During deep hypothermia, REM sleep was largely abolished, and we observed shivering-associated intense bursts of muscle activity. CONCLUSIONS: Our study highlights important similarities between EEG signatures of fasting-induced torpor in mice, daily torpor in Djungarian hamsters and hibernation in seasonally hibernating species. Future studies are necessary to clarify the effects on fasting-induced torpor on subsequent sleep.