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Sleep-Wake Regulation and Its Impact on Working Memory Performance: The Role of Adenosine

Centre for Chronobiology, Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Basel, Wilhelm Klein-Strasse 27, Basel 4012, Switzerland
Transfaculty Research Platform Molecular and Cognitive Neurosciences, University of Basel, Birmannsgasse 8, Basel 4055, Switzerland
Cyclotron Research Centre, University of Liège, Allée du 6 Août n°8, Liège 4000, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Chris O'Callaghan
Biology 2016, 5(1), 11;
Received: 28 November 2015 / Revised: 15 January 2016 / Accepted: 19 January 2016 / Published: 5 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circadian Rhythms from Bench to Bedside)
PDF [2215 KB, uploaded 18 February 2016]


The sleep-wake cycle is regulated by a fine-tuned interplay between sleep-homeostatic and circadian mechanisms. Compelling evidence suggests that adenosine plays an important role in mediating the increase of homeostatic sleep pressure during time spent awake and its decrease during sleep. Here, we summarize evidence that adenosinergic mechanisms regulate not only the dynamic of sleep pressure, but are also implicated in the interaction of homeostatic and circadian processes. We review how this interaction becomes evident at several levels, including electrophysiological data, neuroimaging studies and behavioral observations. Regarding complex human behavior, we particularly focus on sleep-wake regulatory influences on working memory performance and underlying brain activity, with a specific emphasis on the role of adenosine in this interplay. We conclude that a change in adenosinergic mechanisms, whether exogenous or endogenous, does not only impact on sleep-homeostatic processes, but also interferes with the circadian timing system. View Full-Text
Keywords: circadian; sleep homeostasis; adenosine; working memory; cognition circadian; sleep homeostasis; adenosine; working memory; cognition

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Reichert, C.F.; Maire, M.; Schmidt, C.; Cajochen, C. Sleep-Wake Regulation and Its Impact on Working Memory Performance: The Role of Adenosine. Biology 2016, 5, 11.

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