How Sleep Clears the Brain

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The researchers next injected mice with labeled beta-amyloid and measured how long it lasted in their brains when they were asleep and awake. Beta-amyloid disappeared twice as quickly in the brains of mice that were asleep.

Glial cells control flow through the glymphatic system by shrinking and swelling. The hormone noradrenaline, which increases alertness, is known to cause cells to swell. The researchers thus tested whether the hormone might affect the glymphatic system. Treating mice with drugs that block noradrenaline induced a sleep-like state and increased brain fluid flow and extracellular brain volume. This result suggests a molecular connection between the sleep-wake cycle and the brain’s cleaning system.

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