Cellular mechanisms and neural circuits of cortical sleep regulation in mice


  • Dr Lukas Krone

    University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Project summary

Neither humans nor animals can stay awake forever. Our brain measures how long we have been awake and gradually increases the drive to sleep until sleep becomes irresistible. I investigate the neurobiology underlying this process, termed 'sleep homeostasis', through which a healthy brain ensures that we get sufficient sleep. I recently found that the cortex, a brain region with a complex structure and high energy demands, keeps an account of sleep need. My current studies in mice explore whether the cortex senses accumulating oxidative stress, a byproduct of neuronal activity, and transitions into its sleep mode when a critical threshold is reached. I further investigate through which connections the cortex informs other brain regions when it is time to switch off. My project aims to identify molecular processes and the brain circuits which could be targets for new drugs or existing brain stimulation techniques to help people with sleep disorders.