Washington: Scientists have discovered abnormalities in bone and bone marrow in rats undergoing chronic lack of sleep.
The team at the Medical College of Wisconsin, led by Carol Everson, Ph.D., professor of neurology, cell biology, neurobiology and anatomy, found abnormalities in serum markers of bone metabolism in sleep-deprived rats, which led them to conduct direct measurements of bone parameters; this time in rats experiencing recurrent sleep restriction during a large portion of their young adulthood.
The results showed a dramatic imbalance between bone apposition and reabsorption, marked by an arrest in bone formation without reduced absorption.
Furthermore, fat in the red marrow is greatly diminished and platelet-generating cells are doubled in number, indicating changes to marrow plasticity.
“If the same processes are evoked in humans,” said Dr. Everson, “the potential medical implications are far-reaching and may include poor repair of microdamage from activities of daily living, introduction of osteoporotic processes, and changes to progenitor cells that may affect disease predisposition and disease resistance.”
The researchers observed changes in intramembranous ossification and marrow hypercellularity resulting from chronic sleep loss.
“Marrow fat was greatly diminished and reflected increased blood cell production and differentiation. Our findings of increased megakaryocyte numbers, for example, suggest that there is an increased demand for cell delivery to the circulation consistent with an inflammatory response, and conceivably the promotion of thrombocytosis,” said Dr. Everson.
The results appear in the September 2012 issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine.