12:09 pm - Tuesday December 12, 2017

Deadly combo of aging and sleep deprivation could lead to diabetes

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Deadly combo of aging and sleep deprivation could lead to diabetes
Deadly combo of aging and sleep deprivation could lead to diabetes

Washington –  Researchers have showed that stress in pancreatic cells due to sleep deprivation could contribute to the loss or dysfunction of these cells important to maintaining proper blood sugar levels, and that these functions may be exacerbated by normal aging.

Nirinjini Naidoo, Ph.D., research associate professor in the Division of Sleep Medicine, said that the combined effect of aging and sleep deprivation resulted in a loss of control of blood sugar reminiscent of pre-diabetes in mice.

She said that they hypothesize that older humans might be especially susceptible to the effects of sleep deprivation on the disruption of glucose homeostasis via cell stress.

Working with Penn colleague Joe Baur, Ph.D., assistant professor of Physiology, Naidoo started a collaboration to look at the relationship of sleep deprivation, the UPR, and metabolic response with age.

Naidoo and Baur asked if sleep deprivation (SD) causes ER stress in the pancreas, via an increase in protein misfolding, and in turn, how this relates to aging.

The team examined tissues in mice for cellular stress following acute SD, and they also looked for cellular stress in aging mice. Their results show that both age and SD combine to induce cellular stress in the pancreas.

Older mice fared markedly worse when subjected to sleep deprivation. Pancreas tissue from older mice or from young animals subjected to sleep deprivation exhibited signs of protein misfolding, yet both were able to maintain insulin secretion and control blood sugar levels.

Pancreas tissue from acutely sleep-deprived aged animals exhibited a marked increase in CHOP, a protein associated with cell death, suggesting a maladaptive response to cellular stress with age that was amplified by sleep deprivation.

The study has been published in Aging Cell.

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