Brain Plasticity, Oxidative Stress and Sleep, What’s the Link?
A large number of existing studies have examined the role of sleep, since it seems to be a crucial need and involves both physiologic and behavioral processes. It is well established that sleep promotes various cognitive functions, participates in the consolidation of fresh memory traces, and has effects in brain maturation. However, sleep remains a scientific question, yet general consensus exists today that sleep is strictly essential for the creation of memory and long-term memory circuits, linked to learning and, in general, to the mechanisms of neural plasticity. In the present paper we will first explore what findings have already been reported, linking sleep with brain plasticity. We will then review research associating sleep with oxidative processes. In closing, we will discuss what relation can linking sleep, brain plasticity and oxidative stress. From these facts one may conclude that sleep and brain plasticity are strongly related. The transition between wakefulness and sleep involves profound changes in motor control, cognition, brain activity, and consciousness. A working description of sleep as an electrophysiologically and behaviorally defined state has been wellknown. Nevertheless, the function of sleep is not fully elucidated. A better understanding of the changes of oxidative stress and sleep is crucial for developing methods that directly enhance sleep dependent plasticity, since promoting sleep may be useful to restore synaptic plasticity in different pathological conditions. Also, a better understanding of brain mechanisms controlling sleep/wake states would allow us to gain new insights on the functions of sleep and improve the capacity to treat sleep disorders.