Tick-borne encephalitis affects sleep-wake behavior and locomotion in infant rats.

Chiffi, Gabriele; Grandgirard, Denis; Stöckli, Sabrina; Valente, Luca G; Adamantidis, Antoine; Leib, Stephen L (2022). Tick-borne encephalitis affects sleep-wake behavior and locomotion in infant rats. Cell & bioscience, 12(1), p. 121. BioMed Central 10.1186/s13578-022-00859-7

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Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a disease affecting the central nervous system. Over the last decade, the incidence of TBE has steadily increased in Europe and Asia despite the availably of effective vaccines. Up to 50% of patients after TBE suffer from post-encephalitic syndrome that may develop into long-lasting morbidity. Altered sleep-wake functions have been reported by patients after TBE. The mechanisms causing these disorders in TBE are largely unknown to date. As a first step toward a better understanding of the pathology of TBEV-inducing sleep dysfunctions, we assessed parameters of sleep structure in an established infant rat model of TBE.


13-day old Wistar rats were infected with 1 × 106 FFU Langat virus (LGTV). On day 4, 9, and 21 post infection, Rotarod (balance and motor coordination) and open field tests (general locomotor activity) were performed and brains from representative animals were collected in each subgroup. On day 28 the animals were implanted with a telemetric EEG/EMG system. Sleep recording was continuously performed for 24 consecutive hours starting at day 38 post infection and visually scored for Wake, NREM, and REM in 4 s epochs.


As a novelty of this study, infected animals showed a significant larger percentage of time spend awake during the dark phase and less NREM and REM compared to the control animals (p < 0.01 for all comparisons). Furthermore, it was seen, that during the dark phase the wake bout length in infected animals was prolonged (p = 0.043) and the fragmentation index decreased (p = 0.0085) in comparison to the control animals. LGTV-infected animals additionally showed a reduced rotarod performance ability at day 4 (p = 0.0011) and day 9 (p = 0.0055) and day 21 (p = 0.0037). A lower locomotor activity was also seen at day 4 (p = 0.0196) and day 9 (p = 0.0473).


Our data show that experimental TBE in infant rats affects sleep-wake behavior, leads to decreased spontaneous locomotor activity, and impaired moto-coordinative function.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute for Infectious Diseases > Research
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute for Infectious Diseases

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Chiffi, Gabriele, Grandgirard, Denis, Stöckli, Sabrina (B), Valente, Luca Gabriele, Adamantidis, Antoine Roger, Leib, Stephen


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




BioMed Central


[UNSPECIFIED] University of Bern, Switzerland, Interfaculty Research Cooperation Grant “Decoding Sleep” ; [4] Swiss National Science Foundation ; [42] Schweizerischer Nationalfonds




Stephen Leib

Date Deposited:

04 Aug 2022 16:38

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2023 23:38

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Tick-borne encephalitis, Langat virus, Infant rats, Sleep, Sleep–wake behavior , Chemokines and cytokines, Neuroflament, Locomotion, Anxiety-like behavior





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