Journal of Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research


Abstract: Humans often make use of the neurotransmission altering effects of drugs such as caffeine, ephedrine, and ethanol. These drugs induce changes in memory and learning ability, specifically when used for sleep deprivation (Pilcher & Huffcutt, 1996; Malinauskas, Aeby, Overton, Carpenter-Aeby, & Barber-Heidal, 2007). English white mice (Mus musculus) have been shown to exhibit similar cognitive changes when administered drugs or when sleep deprived (Tanaka et al., 2003; Vecsey et al., 2009; Patti et al., 2010). This study revealed a counterbalancing effect when mice were both administered selected drugs and sleep deprived. A sample of 20 mice was divided into three experimental groups (each group receiving one of the following drugs: caffeine, ethanol, or ephedrine) and one control group. Maze-testing demonstrated that memory performance decreased with sleep deprivation (Treatment-1) but all groups returned to baseline performance when injected (IP) with their selected drugs (Treatment-2), regardless of the specific drug. However, in the absence of sleep deprivation, each drug showed less of an effect. Neither caffeine nor ephedrine produced any significant effect, while alcohol treatment decreased performance. Overall, sleep deprivation consistently decreases memory recall performance in mice. Drug use can counterbalance those effects of fatigue. However, that drug use does not have the same effect on non-fatigued mice, which suggests a synergistic interaction between sleep deprivation and the use of these specific drugs.