Effect of sleep deprivation on the liver, kidney and heart: histological and immunohistochemical study

Medhat Taha, Hagar Y. Rady, Nouran K. Olama


Background: Sleep deprivation is verging on a public health epidemic. It induced mild organ injuries through oxidative stress. The present study aimed at evaluating possible histopathological and immunohistochemical alterations caused by sleep deprivation on the liver, heart and kidney.

Methods: 36 Wistar senile male albino rats were divided into two groups; control and experimental. Experimental rats were placed in a plastic cage, with grid floor placed inside it. The cage was filled with water to 1 cm below the grid surface. The stainless-steel rods of the grid were set 2 cm apart from each other. Loss of muscle tone associated with sleep caused them to touch the water and wake up. At the end of the experiment, animals were sacrificed by decapitation on days 1, 3 and 5. Liver, kidney and heart were obtained and dissected.  

Results: In SSD1 group, liver cells showed early stage of hepatic steatosis while mucolipidosis within hepatocytes was detected in SSD3 and the degree of steatosis increased in SSD5. Renal glomerular congestion was detected in SSD1. In SSD3 vascular congestion of glomerular tufts and apoptosis of the lining tubular epithelium was seen. Renal casts were formed in SSD5. In SSD1 lysis of myocardial fibrils was seen. Myocardial fibers degeneration represented by increase sarcoplasmic eosinophilia in SSD3. Sarcoplasmic vacuolation and nuclear chromatolysis increased in SSD5. Staining with GFAP and P53 showed various results among the liver, heart and kidney.

Conclusions: Sleep deprivation might induce multiple organ injury through oxidative stress causing altered histological appearance.


Sleep deprivation, Oxidative stress, Melatonin, GFAP, P53

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