Sleep deprivation (SD) occurs universally in modern societies and causes significant social and financial harm. Numerous human and animal studies indicate that various forms of SD are deleterious to mental and physical health. Therefore, SD has been recognized as an unmet challenge to public health. There is increased need to study the effects of different forms of SD on physiological functions in animal models. However, better methods are sorely needed. Existing SD systems have low throughput and capacity and are difficult to use and expensive. In our Phase I project, we have developed an automatic sleep monitoring/sleep deprivation system for rodents. Our system is based on floor sensors, the data from which yield automatic sleep scoring. We demonstrated that "hands-off" automatic SD using our method is technically feasible. We have also verified the advantages of our system over other competing systems, namely, that our method is less invasive, more selective, less time-consuming, and easier to use. Based on the success of our Phase I project, our Phase II project will be focused on the commercialization of our research product. The objective of the present project is to develop a unified, non-invasive, high throughput and low cost SD system for mice and rats.
Our specific aims are the follows.
Aim 1. Development of a full-featured SD system with multiple lines of hardware and software products Aim 1a. Development of Hardware. We will refine, ruggedize, and make more reliable our mouse SD system while simultaneously lowering the costs for mass production. Because rats are used frequently in sleep research we will develop a rat SD system based on the mouse SD system.
Aim 1 b. Development of software. We will develop software products with the following innovative features: 1) Establish bi-directional information exchange through USB cable to perform three common types of SD: acute SD, sleep fragmentation and chronic sleep restriction;2) Create a user-friendly interface for flexible experimental design on the host PC;3) Expand system capability to perform simultaneous studies in as many as 64 rats or mice. 4) Extend the software functionality to perform group statistical analysis including group means, standard errors and data lists in animals from multiple groups of animals, and 5) Extend the software products to both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 platforms.
Aim 2. Evaluation and validation of the SD system, and development of "standardized" SD protocols The validation of the system includes: 1) verification of sleep loss and rebound following SD using EEG evaluation and verification of the robustness and ease of use of the system, 2) investigation of the consequences of SD on animals, especially social recognition/preference tasks, and 3) development of an experimental "cook book" through performing different types of SD to "standardize" SD protocols in order to facilitate comparison results generated by different laboratories.
The aim of the present project is to develop an automated, noninvasive, high throughput and low lost sleep deprivation system for rodents. This system can help to study sleep loss impact on health and drug discovery for the treatment of sleep disorders.