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Oxalic acid and diacylglycerol 36:3 are cross-species markers of sleep debt

Weljie, A. M., Meerlo, P., Goel, N., Sengupta, A., Kayser, M. S., Abel, T., Birnbaum, M. J., Dinges, D. F. & Sehgal, A., 2015, In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 112, 8, p. 2569-2574

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  • Aalim M Weljie
  • Peter Meerlo
  • Namni Goel
  • Arjun Sengupta
  • Matthew S Kayser
  • Ted Abel
  • Morris J Birnbaum
  • David F Dinges
  • Amita Sehgal

Sleep is an essential biological process that is thought to have a critical role in metabolic regulation. In humans, reduced sleep duration has been associated with risk for metabolic disorders, including weight gain, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. However, our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying effects of sleep loss is only in its nascent stages. In this study we used rat and human models to simulate modern-day conditions of restricted sleep and addressed cross-species consequences via comprehensive metabolite profiling. Serum from sleep-restricted rats was analyzed using polar and nonpolar methods in two independent datasets (n = 10 per study, 3,380 measured features, 407 identified). A total of 38 features were changed across independent experiments, with the majority classified as lipids (18 from 28 identified). In a parallel human study, 92 metabolites were identified as potentially significant, with the majority also classified as lipids (32 of 37 identified). Intriguingly, two metabolites, oxalic acid and diacylglycerol 36:3, were robustly and quantitatively reduced in both species following sleep restriction, and recovered to near baseline levels after sleep restriction (P < 0.05, false-discovery rate < 0.2). Elevated phospholipids were also noted after sleep restriction in both species, as well as metabolites associated with an oxidizing environment. In addition, polar metabolites reflective of neurotransmitters, vitamin B3, and gut metabolism were elevated in sleep-restricted humans. These results are consistent with induction of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors and disruptions of the circadian clock. The findings provide a potential link between known pathologies of reduced sleep duration and metabolic dysfunction, and potential biomarkers for sleep loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2569-2574
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume112
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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