Lack of sleep interferes with this important function and leads to a number of problems with the brain, Naked Science reported.
Microglia cells play a very important role for the brain and spinal cord as they cleanse tissues of accumulated products of their vital activity or decay and fight against infectious agents. Recent studies have shown that these cells are important for neuroplasticity - the process of formation and restructuring of neural connections.
It has already been established that microglia cells interact with synapses - compounds of nerve cells through which a signal is transmitted. Microglia cells help maintain the health and functioning of synapses and reduce the connections between nerve cells when they are no longer needed for brain function.
Neurology has revealed that noradrenaline is also important in this process - a compound that indicates excitement and stress in the central nervous system. During sleep, its level is reduced, and with an increase, nerve cells are excited and awakened.
Norepinephrine affects beta-2-adrenergic receptor, high levels of which are contained in microglia. It turns out that when norepinephrine joins the receptor, the microglia cells “fall asleep” - they stop responding to local injuries and do not participate in the reconstruction of neural networks.
All this helps to understand why with sleep disturbance, the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases increases.