Phasic but not tonic REM-selective discharge of periaqueductal gray neurons in freely behaving animals: relevance to postulates of GABAergic inhibition of monoaminergic neurons

Brain Res. 2002 Aug 2;945(2):276-80. doi: 10.1016/s0006-8993(02)02914-1.


To determine if ventrolateral periaqueductal gray contains neurons that selectively increase their discharge activity before and during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and hence might furnish GABAergic inhibition of monoaminergic neurons, we recorded the extracellular activity of 33 neurons across sleep-wakefulness in freely behaving cats. Several types of state-specific neuronal populations were found in the periaqueductal gray, although we did not find any neurons that had a tonic discharge increase before and during REM. Thus, these data suggest that, although periaqueductal gray neurons may regulate phasic components of REM sleep, they do not have the requisite tonic pre-REM and REM activity to be a source of GABAergic inhibition of monoaminergic neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Biogenic Monoamines / physiology*
  • Cats
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Periaqueductal Gray / cytology
  • Periaqueductal Gray / physiology*
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep, REM / physiology*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology*


  • Biogenic Monoamines
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid