Elevated ranges of dopamine play an necessary function in transition to REM sleep, mice examine suggests

What triggers the mammalian sleep cycle’s shift between non-rapid eye motion (NREM) and fast eye motion (REM) sleep? A brand new examine in mice suggests elevated ranges of dopamine in a key area of the mind throughout NREM sleep play an necessary function on this transition.

In mammals, sleep is characterised by alternating durations of NREM and REM sleeps; REM sleep – the stage wherein goals normally happen – usually occurs after a number of phases of NREM sleep, and this cycle continues till waking. Nevertheless, how the mind regulates sleep and the cycle between sleep states is not very nicely understood.

Whereas pharmacological research have indicated that dopamine (DA) can modulate REM sleep, this neurotransmitter, which is mostly related to pleasure and habit, is absent in most prevailing fashions of REM sleep. Utilizing fiber photometry within the brains of mice, Emi Hasegawa and colleagues noticed will increase in dopamine activation within the basolateral amygdala (BLA) of the mind simply earlier than the transition from NREM to REM sleep however not earlier than the NREM-wake transition, indicating that transient DA on this mind area triggers the initiation of REM sleep. Hasegawa et al. used optogenetic manipulation in mice to excite DA fibers within the BLA throughout NREM sleep, which precipitated a transition to REM sleep.

The authors additionally examined whether or not DA signaling within the BLA can set off cataplexy, which happens within the sleep problem narcolepsy and manifests as a crippling pathologic intrusion of REM sleep into wakefulness that ends in lack of postural motor management. They discovered that DA ranges within the BLA elevated earlier than cataplexy assaults in narcoleptic mice however not in wild-type mice.

“Hasegawa et al. present recent insights into the management of each REM sleep and cataplexy by DA, and their findings elevate the intriguing risk that DRD2 BLA neurons might be a selective druggable goal for treating debilitating signs in a variety of REM sleep problems, together with cataplexy in narcolepsy and different problems, comparable to Parkinson’s illness, wherein DA signaling is disrupted,” write Elda Arrigoni and Patrick Fuller in a associated Perspective.


American Affiliation for the Development of Science (AAAS)

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