Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Document Type



Sleep is a critical process that the body undergoes. When sleep is interrupted, so that an individual is awakened for some period before going back into sleep, the sleep can be described as fragmented. Studies in the past have shown that sleep fragmentation (SF) promotes an inflammatory environment, especially in the brain and peripheral tissue. However, studies have not been conducted to observe inflammatory responses in muscle. To examine this, C57BL/6J female mice were subjected to either a control group (no SF) or a SF group which involved using an automated SF chamber to disrupt sleep every 2 min over a 24-h period. Afterwards, mice were euthanized, and tissues were collected from different types of muscle (skeletal (pectoralis and gastrocnemius), smooth (uterus), and cardiac muscle). Total RNA was then extracted by a fibrous tissue extraction method using RNeasy kits. The total RNA was then reverse transcribed into cDNA. Proinflammatory cytokine gene expression (tumor necrosis factor-alpha) was measured using RTPCR. We predicted that an inflammatory response would occur in cardiac and skeletal muscle, but not smooth muscle. Data collection and analysis later showed that there was an inflammatory response observed in cardiac tissue based on a significant difference of TNF-α expression between fragmented and control groups, but there were no significant differences observed in other tissues. Results of this study will increase our understanding of how sleep loss can affect multiple tissues and organ systems.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Noah Ashley, Ph.D.


Allergy and Immunology | Biology | Chemistry | Sleep Medicine