STUDY OBJECTIVES: Torpor is a regulated and reversible state of metabolic suppression used by many mammalian species to conserve energy. Whereas the relationship between torpor and sleep has been well-studied in seasonal hibernators, less is known about the effects of fasting-induced torpor on states of vigilance and brain activity in laboratory mice. METHODS: Continuous monitoring of electroencephalogram (EEG), electromyogram (EMG) and surface body temperature was undertaken in adult, male C57BL/6 mice over consecutive days of scheduled restricted feeding. RESULTS: All animals showed bouts of hypothermia that became progressively deeper and longer as fasting progressed. EEG and EMG were markedly affected by hypothermia, although the typical electrophysiological signatures of NREM sleep, REM sleep and wakefulness enabled us to perform vigilance-state classification in all cases. Consistent with previous studies, hypothermic bouts were initiated from a state indistinguishable from NREM sleep, with EEG power decreasing gradually in parallel with decreasing surface body temperature. During deep hypothermia, REM sleep was largely abolished, and we observed shivering-associated intense bursts of muscle activity. CONCLUSIONS: Our study highlights important similarities between EEG signatures of fasting-induced torpor in mice, daily torpor in Djungarian hamsters and hibernation in seasonally-hibernating species. Future studies are necessary to clarify the effects on fasting-induced torpor on subsequent sleep.
EEG, Sleep, food restriction, mice, torpor