Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Document Type



Sleep plays an essential role throughout the body by affecting the physiological function and regulation of many systems. One of these systems that receives effects as a result of the adequacy of sleep is the immune system. Previous studies have demonstrated effects of sleep fragmentation upon the immune system; however, sexual differences of these effects have not been studied in depth. To analyze these variances amongst the genders, male and female adult mice were subjected to acute sleep fragmentation (SF) for 24 hours in an automated SF cage that includes a bar sweeping across the cage every two minutes. Meanwhile, the control group of male and female adult mice were left undisturbed. Following SF, the brain, spleen, liver, and white adipose tissues of both SF and control groups of mice were collected and stored in RNAlater solution. Total RNA of each of the tissues belonging to the mice were isolated. Additionally, RNA was reverse transcribed into cDNA. Then, gene expression of proinflammatory cytokine IL-1β was assessed using RTPCR with Taqman primer/probes. Results show that female mice exhibited more elevation of IL-1β gene expression in spleen from acute sleep fragmentation compared with males. However, sleep fragmentation did not increase IL- 1β gene expression in liver or white adipose tissue for either sex. Taken together, these data provide more evidence of a sexual difference in immune response with a focus upon obstructive sleep apnea.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Noah Ashley, Ph.D.


Biology | Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism | Immunology and Infectious Disease | Physiology