Sleeping sickness disrupts the sleep-regulating adenosine system

Filipa Rijo-Ferreira, Theresa E. Bjorness, Kimberly H. Cox, Alex Sonneborn, Robert W. Greene, Joseph S. Takahashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Patients with sleeping sickness, caused by the parasite Trypanosoma brucei, have disruptions in both sleep timing and sleep architecture. However, the underlying cause of these sleep disturbances is not well understood. Here, we assessed the sleep architecture of male mice infected with T. brucei and found that infected mice had drastically altered sleep patterns. Interestingly, T. brucei-infected mice also had a reduced homeostatic sleep response to sleep deprivation, a response modulated by the adenosine system. We found that infected mice had a reduced electrophysiological response to an adenosine receptor antagonist and increased adenosine receptor gene expression. Although the mechanism by which T. brucei infection causes these changes remains to be determined, our findings suggest that the symptoms of sleeping sickness may be because of alterations in homeostatic adenosine signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9306-9316
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number48
StatePublished - Nov 25 2020


  • Adenosine
  • Homeostasis
  • Sleep
  • Sleeping sickness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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