Delta sleep-inducing peptide (DSIP): a still unresolved riddle

J Neurochem. 2006 Apr;97(2):303-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2006.03693.x. Epub 2006 Mar 15.


Delta sleep-inducing peptide (DSIP) was isolated from rabbit cerebral venous blood by Schoenenberger-Monnier group from Basel in 1977 and initially regarded as a candidate sleep-promoting factor. However, the link between DSIP and sleep has never been further characterized, in part because of the lack of isolation of the DSIP gene, protein and possible related receptor. Thus the hypothesis regarding DSIP as a sleep factor is extremely poorly documented and still weak. Although DSIP itself presented a focus of study for a number of researchers, its natural occurrence and biological activity still remains obscure. DSIP structure is different from any other known representative of the various peptide families. In this mini-review we hypothesize the existence of a DSIP-like peptide(s) that is responsible (at least partly) for DSIP-like immunoreactivity and DSIP biological activity. This assumption is based on: (i) a highly specific distribution of DSIP-like immunoreactivity in the neurosecretory hypothalamic nuclei of various vertebrate species that are not particularly relevant for sleep regulation, as revealed by the histochemical studies of the Geneva group (Charnay et al.); (ii) a large spectrum of DSIP biological activity revealed by biochemical and physiological studies in vitro; (iii) significant slow-wave sleep (SWS) promoting activity of certain artificial DSIP structural analogues (but not DSIP itself!) in rabbits and rats revealed by our early studies; and (iv) significant SWS-promoting activity of a naturally occurring dermorphin-decapeptide that is structurally similar to DSIP (in five of the nine positions) and the sleep-suppressing effect of its optical isomer, as revealed in rabbits. Potential future studies are outlined, including natural synthesis and release of this DSIP-like peptide and its role in neuroendocrine regulation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Delta Sleep-Inducing Peptide / chemistry
  • Delta Sleep-Inducing Peptide / metabolism
  • Delta Sleep-Inducing Peptide / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Sleep / physiology*


  • Delta Sleep-Inducing Peptide