Neuropeptide S overcomes short term memory deficit induced by sleep restriction by increasing prefrontal cortex activity


Sleep restriction (SR) impairs short term memory (STM) that might be related to different processes. Neuropeptide S (NPS), an endogenous neuropeptide that improves short term memory, activates arousal and decreases anxiety is likely to counteract the SR-induced impairment of STM. The objective of the present study was to find common cerebral pathways in sleep restriction and NPS action in order to ultimately antagonize SR effect on memory.

The STM was assessed using a spontaneous spatial alternation task in a T-maze. C57-Bl/6 J male mice were distributed in 4 groups according to treatment (0.1 nmol of NPS or vehicle intracerebroventricular injection) and to 20 h-SR. Immediately after behavioural testing, regional c-fos immunohistochemistry was performed and used as a neural activation marker for spatial short term memory (prefrontal cortex, dorsal hippocampus) and emotional reactivity (basolateral amygdala and ventral hippocampus). Anxiety-like behaviour was assessed using elevated-plus maze task.

Results showed that SR impaired short term memory performance and decreased neuronal activation in cingular cortex.NPS injection overcame SR-induced STM deficits and increased neuronal activation in infralimbic cortex. SR spared anxiety-like behavior in the elevated-plus maze. Neural activation in basolateral nucleus of amygdala and ventral hippocampus were not changed after SR.In conclusion, the present study shows that NPS overcomes SR-induced STM deficits by increasing prefrontal cortex activation independently of anxiety-like behaviour.