Chronically skipping breakfast impairs hippocampal memory-related gene expression and memory function accompanied by reduced wakefulness and body temperature in mice

Hiroki Okauchi, Sayaka Higo-Yamamoto, Takumi Sowa, Hideaki Oike, Saori Yamamoto, Naoyuki Wada, Katsuhiko Sakamoto, Katsutaka Oishi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Acute or chronic effects of consuming or skipping breakfast on cognitive performance in humans are controversial. To evaluate the effects of chronically skipping breakfast (SB) on hippocampus-dependent long-term memory formation, we examined hippocampal gene expression and applied the novel object recognition test (NORT) after two weeks of repeated fasting for six hours from lights off to mimic SB in mice. We also examined the effects of SB on circadian rhythms of locomotor activity, food intake, core body temperature (CBT) and sleep-wake cycles. Skipping breakfast slightly but significantly decreased total daily food intake without affecting body weight gain. Locomotor activity and CBT significantly decreased during the fasting period under SB. The degree of fasting-dependent CBT reduction gradually increased and then became stabilized after four days of SB. Electroencephalographic data revealed that repeated SB significantly decreased the duration of wakefulness and increased that of rapid eye movement (REM) and of non-REM (NREM) sleep during the period of SB. Furthermore, total daily amounts of wakefulness and NREM sleep were significantly decreased and increased, respectively, under SB, suggesting that SB disrupts sleep homeostasis. Skipping breakfast significantly suppressed mRNA expression of the memory-related genes, Camk2a, Fkbp5, Gadd45b, Gria1, Sirt1 and Tet1 in the hippocampus. Recognition memory assessed by NORT was impaired by SB in accordance with the gene expression profiles. These findings suggested that chronic SB causes dysregulated CBT, sleep-wake cycles and hippocampal gene expression, which results in impaired long-term memory formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-134
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2020



  • Body temperature
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Fasting
  • Long-term memory
  • Novel object recognition
  • Sleep

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