One night of partial sleep deprivation affects habituation of hypothalamus and skin conductance responses

Anja C. Peters, Jens Blechert, Philipp G. Sämann, Ines Eidner, Michael Czisch, Victor I. Spoormaker
2014 Journal of Neurophysiology  
Peters AC, Blechert J, Sämann PG, Eidner I, Czisch M, Spoormaker VI. One night of partial sleep deprivation affects habituation of hypothalamus and skin conductance responses. Sleep disturbances are prevalent in clinical anxiety, but it remains unclear whether they are cause and/or consequence of this condition. Fear conditioning constitutes a valid laboratory model for the acquisition of normal and pathological anxiety. To explore the relationship between disturbed sleep and anxiety in more
more » ... ail, the present study evaluated the effect of partial sleep deprivation (SD) on fear conditioning in healthy individuals. The neural correlates of 1) nonassociative learning and physiological processing and 2) associative learning (differential fear conditioning) were addressed. Measurements entailed simultaneous functional MRI, EEG, skin conductance response (SCR), and pulse recordings. Regarding nonassociative learning, partial SD resulted in a generalized failure to habituate during fear conditioning, as evidenced by reduced habituation of SCR and hypothalamus responses to all stimuli. Furthermore, SCR and hypothalamus activity were correlated, supporting their functional relationship. Regarding associative learning, effects of partial SD on the acquisition of conditioned fear were weaker and did not reach statistical significance. The hypothalamus plays an integral role in the regulation of sleep and autonomic arousal. Thus sleep disturbances may play a causal role in the development of normal and possibly pathological fear by increasing the susceptibility of the sympathetic nervous system to stressful experiences. sleep deprivation; fear conditioning; skin conductance; hypothalamus; fMRI Address for reprint requests and other correspondence: V. I. Spoormaker,
doi:10.1152/jn.00657.2013 pmid:24920020 fatcat:gqo7gmpdmvasphu247yvqadzo4