PDA

View Full Version : Genes that regulate how much we dream



Jovialis
28-08-18, 17:45
Sleep is known to re-energize animals and consolidate their memories. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, a mysterious stage of sleep in which animals dream, is known to play an important role in maintaining a healthy mental and physical life, but the molecular mechanisms behind this state are poorly understood. Now, an international research team led by researchers at the RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research (BDR) in Japan has identified a pair of genes that regulate how much REM and non-REM sleep an animal experiences.
Sleep is a vital universal behavior in animals. In higher vertebrates such as mammals and birds, sleep is classified into two phases: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep. During REM sleep, the brain is as active as it is during wakefulness, and this stage is believed to function in memory consolidation. Although our knowledge of the neural mechanisms underlying sleep has gradually advanced, the essential molecular factors that regulate REM sleep are still unknown. Now, however, a research team led by Hiroki Ueda at RIKEN BDR and the University of Tokyo has identified two essential genes involved in the regulation of REM sleep. The amount of REM sleep was drastically decreased to almost undetectable levels when both genes were knocked out in a mouse model. This study was published by Cell Reports on August 28.

Several past studies have suggested that the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and its receptor are important for the regulation of REM sleep. Acetylcholine, the first identified neurotransmitter, is abundantly released in some parts of mammalian brain during REM sleep and wakefulness. However, it was unclear which receptor or receptors were directly involved in the regulation of REM sleep due to the complexity of the underlying neural network.

For this study, the researchers used cutting-edge genetic tools to modify mouse genes and conduct genetic screening for factors whose inhibition would cause sleep abnormalities. After knocking out a number of genes encoding various acetylcholine receptors, they found that the loss of two receptors—called Chrm1 and Chrm3—induced a characteristic short-sleep profile. These two receptors are widely distributed in distinct brain regions. The knockout of Chrm1 reduced and fragmented REM sleep, whereas knocking out Chrm3 reduced the length of non-REM sleep. When both genes were knocked out, mice failed almost entirely to experience REM sleep, but survived nonetheless.

"The surprising finding that mice are viable despite the almost complete loss of REM sleep will allow us to verify whether REM sleep plays a crucial role in fundamental biological functions such as learning and memory," says Yasutaka Niwa, the co-first author of the article.

These findings strongly suggest that these two receptors are essential for sleep regulation, especially REM sleep, and function in different ways. "The discovery that Chrm1 and Chrm3 play a key role in REM sleep opens the way to studying its underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms and will eventually allow us to define the state of REM sleep, which has been paradoxical and mysterious since its original report," Ueda says.




https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-08-genes.html

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2018.07.082

LeBrok
28-08-18, 19:33
I must have it. My REM stage is longer than average.

Angela
28-08-18, 21:31
Sleep is known to re-energize animals and consolidate their memories. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, a mysterious stage of sleep in which animals dream, is known to play an important role in maintaining a healthy mental and physical life, but the molecular mechanisms behind this state are poorly understood. Now, an international research team led by researchers at the RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research (BDR) in Japan has identified a pair of genes that regulate how much REM and non-REM sleep an animal experiences.
Sleep is a vital universal behavior in animals. In higher vertebrates such as mammals and birds, sleep is classified into two phases: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep. During REM sleep, the brain is as active as it is during wakefulness, and this stage is believed to function in memory consolidation. Although our knowledge of the neural mechanisms underlying sleep has gradually advanced, the essential molecular factors that regulate REM sleep are still unknown. Now, however, a research team led by Hiroki Ueda at RIKEN BDR and the University of Tokyo has identified two essential genes involved in the regulation of REM sleep. The amount of REM sleep was drastically decreased to almost undetectable levels when both genes were knocked out in a mouse model. This study was published by Cell Reports on August 28.

Several past studies have suggested that the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and its receptor are important for the regulation of REM sleep. Acetylcholine, the first identified neurotransmitter, is abundantly released in some parts of mammalian brain during REM sleep and wakefulness. However, it was unclear which receptor or receptors were directly involved in the regulation of REM sleep due to the complexity of the underlying neural network.

For this study, the researchers used cutting-edge genetic tools to modify mouse genes and conduct genetic screening for factors whose inhibition would cause sleep abnormalities. After knocking out a number of genes encoding various acetylcholine receptors, they found that the loss of two receptors—called Chrm1 and Chrm3—induced a characteristic short-sleep profile. These two receptors are widely distributed in distinct brain regions. The knockout of Chrm1 reduced and fragmented REM sleep, whereas knocking out Chrm3 reduced the length of non-REM sleep. When both genes were knocked out, mice failed almost entirely to experience REM sleep, but survived nonetheless.

"The surprising finding that mice are viable despite the almost complete loss of REM sleep will allow us to verify whether REM sleep plays a crucial role in fundamental biological functions such as learning and memory," says Yasutaka Niwa, the co-first author of the article.

These findings strongly suggest that these two receptors are essential for sleep regulation, especially REM sleep, and function in different ways. "The discovery that Chrm1 and Chrm3 play a key role in REM sleep opens the way to studying its underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms and will eventually allow us to define the state of REM sleep, which has been paradoxical and mysterious since its original report," Ueda says.




https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-08-genes.html

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2018.07.082

I have no idea whether mine are shorter or longer than anyone else's. I do know that my dreams are really vivid and I can remember them even if I don't write them down immediately.

Some of them I can tell are re-ordered and somewhat transformed elements from various experiences of that day or that period in my life. The funny part is when people I haven't consciously thought about for months or years sometimes appears in them, or I discover I'm very attracted to some person that in life doesn't really appeal. :) Other dreams are recurring dreams, and some of them I know are common to a lot of people, like being somewhere and realizing I'm not wearing shoes, or being in school and being totally unprepared for a test.

I must have a "thing" about being prepared for all eventualities and being fearful for the well being of my family. Since I was a teenager I've been dreaming about some sort of colossal break down of society and running around buying generators and seeds and animals and going to my parents' country property to hunker down. If the apocalypse ever comes, look me up, because I'll be all prepared. :)

MobyD
30-08-18, 02:23
I never knew this before, although I would imagine that it varies for each person. My REM stage is probably longer than most people.

Jovialis
30-08-18, 15:09
I've been having some vivid dreams lately. Though they don't seem to make much sense. Some of them are pretty scary actually. So much so, that they've propelled me up out of my sleep.

ToBeOrNotToBe
01-09-18, 23:29
Really cool - I'd imagine given the acetylcholine link that these genes probably have some positive impact on intelligence too (and I'm not saying that in a self-gratifying way, I barely ever remember my dreams).

If anybody wants to have really vivid dreams, order something called Huperzine A online. It's sold as a supplement and is pretty harmless if you follow the dosage on the container, but if you take it a few hours before bed it massively increases both the vividness of your dreams, but also your potential to lucid dream (the lucid dreaming community uses Galantamine which works in essentially the exact same way, but that's too expensive and might actually be prescription-only (despite being pretty much harmless)).

Huperzine A also would somewhat help (depending on how optimised your are to your genetic potential) with things like memory and concentration, but has the potential in some to be too strong and lower mood due to its inverse relationship with dopamine.

A bit of a rant, but taking Huperzine A with a drug called Bromantane is basically a god-combo. Always check the legality and do plenty of research before doing ANYTHING though, of course, but it's a shame more people aren't into chemical assistance outside of the psychiatric community as they really can change your life for the better.

Angela
02-09-18, 01:45
Really cool - I'd imagine given the acetylcholine link that these genes probably have some positive impact on intelligence too (and I'm not saying that in a self-gratifying way, I barely ever remember my dreams).

If anybody wants to have really vivid dreams, order something called Huperzine A online. It's sold as a supplement and is pretty harmless if you follow the dosage on the container, but if you take it a few hours before bed it massively increases both the vividness of your dreams, but also your potential to lucid dream (the lucid dreaming community uses Galantamine which works in essentially the exact same way, but that's too expensive and might actually be prescription-only (despite being pretty much harmless)).

Huperzine A also would somewhat help (depending on how optimised your are to your genetic potential) with things like memory and concentration, but has the potential in some to be too strong and lower mood due to its inverse relationship with dopamine.

A bit of a rant, but taking Huperzine A with a drug called Bromantane is basically a god-combo. Always check the legality and do plenty of research before doing ANYTHING though, of course, but it's a shame more people aren't into chemical assistance outside of the psychiatric community as they really can change your life for the better.

I'm only speaking personally here, but I'd want to pick the dreams that are MORE vivid. Some of them are upsetting enough as it is.

Twelve common dreams. I see some of mine have to do with perfectionism. Makes sense.
http://mentalfloss.com/article/55442/12-common-dreams-and-what-they-supposedly-mean

I often dream about the Mediterranean or gardens or both the sea and gardens. :) Those are happy dreams. I remember certain places in particular, like the Riviera or the Costa Amalfitana or Capri. Usually the smells are as vivid as the visuals.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jh4_SD6rkrg

ToBeOrNotToBe
02-09-18, 01:51
I'm only speaking personally here, but I'd want to pick the dreams that are MORE vivid. Some of them are upsetting enough as it is.

Twelve common dreams. I see some of mine have to do with perfectionism. Makes sense.
http://mentalfloss.com/article/55442/12-common-dreams-and-what-they-supposedly-mean

I often dream about the Mediterranean or gardens or both the sea and gardens. :) Those are happy dreams. I remember certain places in particular, like the Riviera or the Costa Amalfitana or Capri. Usually the smells are as vivid as the visuals.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jh4_SD6rkrg

You can smell in your dreams???

Angela
02-09-18, 02:06
You can smell in your dreams???

It certainly seems to me that I'm smelling the macchia, the wild rosemary, sage, and thyme, the Mediterranean pine, the lemons, the scent of roses and zinnias, the salt smell of the sea. If it's early spring I smell the mimosa.

I think smell is even stronger than visuals, and more connected to our emotions. I could weep from homesickness after one of these dreams.

davef
02-09-18, 02:52
I can barely smell when I'm awake (usually when I'm with someone and I'm asked if I smell something, I have to take a moment to take a mighty sniff, whereas my peer can process it without a sweat). Smell is my weakest sense, far weaker than my others but my dreams are from a visual standpoint very vivid and detailed.

GussieDarley
16-10-18, 13:49
Some people dream a lot. Some people dream a little. If your ancestors dream a lot, then there is a chance that you will be a a dreamer too. So dreaminess is a consequence of the gene.

Strudel
20-10-18, 02:07
Interesting study.

As per the viability of the rats with depleted/interrupted R.E.M. sleep, this of course merely translates to basic survival mode, if I understand it correctly. The study mentions memory, and I think we know already from research of sleep that memory function is disturbed with loss of R.E.M. sleep disturbance. I would be curious to know what research has been done on also the areas of emotional regulation and higher order cognition (frontal lobe). I would surmise that depletion or disruption in the those two areas would also be a negative for ultimate survival/viability, since being irrationally and easily aroused as well as "not too bright" as per frontal lobe activity to put it crassly, would logically seem to not bode well for longer term survival.

I can see studies like this perhaps making important in-roads in the area of social-psychology, deviant behaviour psychology, and criminology. There has been a belief system in place for some time now in the West that abherrant and/or deviant behaviour is primarly if not wholly socially learned, while ignoring that there can also be a significant if not more inherent biological or genetic factor involved.

Sleep patterns seems to bisect this. Sleep patterns vary and can also be manipulated (torturures have abused this fact for eons) to give some crazy outcomes. But perhaps, some sleep patterns are native (in-born) and can be of use to isolating a purely genetic origin.