Sleep boosts production of brain support cells
Sleep increases the reproduction of the cells that go on to form the insulating material on nerve cell projections in the brain and spinal cord known as myelin, according to an animal study. The findings could one day lead scientists to new insights about sleep’s role in brain repair and growth.
Scientists have known for years that many genes are turned on during sleep and off during periods of wakefulness. However, it was unclear how sleep affects specific cells types, such as oligodendrocytes, which make myelin in the healthy brain and in response to injury. Much like the insulation around an electrical wire, myelin allows electrical impulses to move rapidly from one cell to the next.
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