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The influence of sleep deprivation on the onset and development of Alzheimer’s disease

Muizer, K. (2015) The influence of sleep deprivation on the onset and development of Alzheimer’s disease. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative age-related disease that is mainly known for causing memory, thinking and behavioural impairments. Because of growing life-expectancy AD’s occurrence is growing among elderly people. The main characteristics for AD are the Amyloid β plaques and the Neurofibrillary tangles. Amyloid β plaques arise mainly out of the peptide Amyloid β (Aβ), which is cleaved out of the protein Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP). In AD there is a disbalance between the production and the clearance of Aβ from the brain, resulting in an extracellular overload of Aβ. This overload causes the Aβ to stack and form aggregates; plaques. Neurofibrillary tangles arise mainly out of the protein Tau. Tau provide stability to microtubules in axons and regulates the assembly and stability of microtubules by phosphorylation. In AD, however, the Tau protein is hyperphosphorylated, causing it to lose its binding to the microtubules and aggregate intracellular into tangles. Both plaques and tangles cause a neuron to lose its ability to communicate with other neurons. This will cause the neuron to die. The first region that is affected by AD is the entorhinal cortex, which is important in memory and other cognitive abilities. This often causes the first symptom of a patient to be memory related. After affecting the entorhinal cortex, AD will spread through the brain causing more impairments along the way. Eventually AD is fatal. AD is affected by a lot of risk factors. One of these risk factors is sleep deprivation (SD). Sleep deprivation is a condition in which a person sleeps less than the recommended hours of sleep for a longer period of time. Sleep is important for the brain, because toxic waste from neurons, like the amyloid β peptide, is cleared from the brain while sleeping. Research shows that SD could lead to reduced clearance of Aβ from the brain, causing it to be more at risk of stacking. This could promote the onset/progression of AD. AD, in turn, affects the sleep regions in the brain (hypothalamus, SCN) in an early stage of the disease. This causes the two to worsen each other, creating a downward spiral.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 08:05
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 08:05

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