As a result of sleep deprivation in fruit flies and mice in the intestine (but not the brain and other organs) increases the content of active forms of oxygen, and they cause oxidative stress. In flies, the formation of reactive oxygen species in the intestines as a result of sleep deprivation correlate with mortality; the addition of food antioxidants or increase their expression in the intestine allowed the flies to live without sleep as much as the control group. Article published in the journal Cell.
Deprivation (lack) of sleep leads to serious violations of cognitive functions, metabolism and the digestive and immune systems and even death. While it is not clear whether the effect of sleep deprivation on the internal organs or their primary damage — due to improper functioning of the nervous system.
According to one hypothesis, the function of sleep is to protect from oxidative stress of the brain or other organs. In various studies during sleep deprivation found changes in antioxidant response in brain and liver, however, localize the source of the oxidants and ascertain whether oxidative stress with mortality from lack of sleep, have not yet succeeded.
A group of scientists from Harvard medical school under the guidance of Dragana Rogulev (Dragana Rogulja) deprived fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) sleep. To do this, in neurons that inhibit sleep, built in heat activated channels. In the end, with 21 degrees Celsius, the flies were sleeping normally, and at 29 could not sleep and died within 20 days (normally dormant insects lived an average of more than 30 days). If after 10 days of insomnia, the fruit flies were allowed to sleep for the next 15 days, they fully recovered and lived no less than their counterparts in the control group. Hence, the damage caused by sleep deprivation, accumulate gradually and are reversible.