Effects of experimental sleep deprivation on anxiety-like behavior in animal research: Systematic review and meta-analysis

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Increased acute anxiety is a commonly reported behavioral consequence of sleep deprivation in humans. However, rodent studies conducted so far produced inconsistent results, failing to reproduce the same sleep deprivation induced-anxiety observed in clinical experiments. While some presented anxiogenesis as result of sleep deprivation, others reported anxiolysis. In face of such inconsistencies, this article explores the effects of experimental sleep deprivation on anxiety-like behavior in animal research through a systematic review and a series of meta-analyses. A total of 50 of articles met our inclusion criteria, 30 on mice, 19 on rats and one on Zebrafish. Our review shows that sleep deprivation induces a decrease in anxiety-like behavior in preclinical models, which is opposite to results observed in human settings. These results were corroborated in stratified analyses according to species, sleep deprivation method and anxiety measurement technique. In conclusion, the use of animal models for the evaluation of the relationship between sleep deprivation lacks translational applicability and new experimental tools are needed to properly evaluate sleep deprivation-induced anxiogenesis in rodents.

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