Effects of sleep deprivation during pregnancy on the reproductive capability of the offspring

Findings in rats suggest that parental sleep influences the reproductive capability of the F1 offspring.

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Tathiana A. Alvarenga, Ph.D., Marina F.P. Aguiar, Renata Mazaro-Costa, Ph.D., Sergio Tufik, M.D., Ph.D., Monica L. Andersen, Ph.D.

Volume 100, Issue 6, Pages 1752-1757, December 2013



To investigate the effects of sleep deprivation during pregnancy on the reproductive capability of the offspring.


Using a sleep loss model or control home-cage group (male and females rats) to evaluate sexual behavior and hormonal profile in males and females F1 offispring.




First experiment: Pregnant females were exposed to sleep restriction (SR) protocol and the F1 generation was evaluated. Second experiment: male rats were submitted to SR or paradoxical sleep deprivation (PSD) protocol and the F1 generation was evaluated.


Male and female rats were subjected to sleep restriction (SR) for 21 days or paradoxal sleep-deprived (PSD) for 96 hours.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Sexual behavior and hormonal levels during the adult phase were analyzed in F1 offspring of female and male rats submitted to sleep loss.


F1 male offspring of SR females had lower motivation for sex and reduced progesterone concentrations. In contrast, F1 female offspring displayed significantly enhanced proceptivity compared with control offspring. F1 female offspring also demonstrated hypersexuality by mounting the males in the absence of any significant hormonal alterations. F1 male offspring of SR or paradoxically sleep-deprived (PSD) males presented a decline in the sexual response, accompanied by a reduction in testosterone concentrations. Proceptivity was significantly increased among F1 female offspring of PSD and SR males compared with control offspring.


SR in progenitors may alter sexual behavior of the F1 offspring in adulthood. These findings reveal far-reaching consequences of sleep deprivation, and suggest that parental sleep influences the reproductive capability of subsequent generations.

Read the full text at: http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(13)02959-2/fulltext

Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.