GABA in locus coeruleus modulates REM sleep. Apart from the presence of interneurons, locus coeruleus also receives GABAergic inputs from prepositus hypoglossi in the medulla, where the presence of REM-ON-like neurons have been reported. Therefore, it was hypothesized that GABAergic projections from prepositus hypoglossi to locus coeruleus may modulate REM sleep. The experiments were conducted on chronic rats prepared for recording EEG, EOG, and EMG in freely moving conditions. Bipolar stimulating electrodes were implanted in prepositus hypoglossi bilaterally, while chemitrodes were implanted bilaterally in locus coeruleus. The prepositus hypoglossi were bilaterally stimulated (3 Hz, 250 microsec, 100 microA) for 8 h in the presence and absence of picrotoxin (0.25 microg/250 nl) microinjection bilaterally in locus coeruleus, followed by poststimulation recording for 4 h. It was observed that stimulation of prepositus hypoglossi alone significantly increased REM sleep primarily by increasing the REM sleep duration per episode. However, when it was stimulated in the presence of picrotoxin in LC, REM sleep decreased, predominantly due to decreased REM sleep duration per episode. The results of this study suggest that GABAergic inputs from prepositus hypoglossi act on locus coeruleus and regulate REM sleep, possibly by inhibition of REM-OFF neurons.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.