Paradoxical (REM) sleep deprivation causes a large and rapidly reversible decrease in long-term potentiation, synaptic transmission, glutamate receptor protein levels, and ERK/MAPK activation in the dorsal hippocampus

Sleep. 2009 Feb;32(2):227-40. doi: 10.1093/sleep/32.2.227.


Study objectives: It has been shown that wake (W) and slow wave sleep (SWS) modulate synaptic transmission in neocortical projections. However the impact of paradoxical sleep (PS) quantities on synaptic transmission remains unknown. We examined whether PS modulated the excitatory transmission and expression of glutamate receptor subtypes and phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinases (p-ERK1/2).

Design: PS deprivation (PSD) was carried out with the multiple platforms method on adult male Sprague-Dawley rats. LTP, late-LTP, and synaptic transmission were studied in the dorsal and ventral hippocampus of controls, 75-h PSD and 150-min PS rebound (PSR). GluR1 and NR1 protein and mRNA expression were evaluated by western blot and real-time PCR. p-ERK1/2 level was quantified by western blot and immunohistochemistry.

Measurement and results: PSD decreased synaptic transmission and LTP selectively in dorsal CA1 and PSR rescued these deficits. PSD-induced synaptic modifications in CA1 were associated with a decrease in GluR1, NR1, and p-ERK1/2 levels in dorsal CA1 without change in GluR1 and NR1 mRNA expression. Regression analysis shows that LTP is positively correlated with both PS quantities and SWS episodes duration, whereas synaptic transmission and late-LTP are positively correlated with PS quantities and negatively correlated with SWS quantities.

Conclusions: These findings unveil previously unrecognized roles of PSD on synaptic transmission and LTP in the dorsal, but not in the ventral, hippocampus. The fact that the decrease in protein expression of GluR1 and NR1 was not associated with a change in mRNA expression of these receptors suggests that a sleep-induced modulation of translational mechanisms occurs in dorsal CA1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Enzyme Activation / genetics
  • Hippocampus / pathology*
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology
  • Long-Term Potentiation / genetics*
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology
  • Male
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1 / genetics
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3 / genetics
  • Protein Biosynthesis / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, AMPA / genetics*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sleep Deprivation / genetics*
  • Sleep Deprivation / pathology
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiopathology
  • Sleep, REM / genetics
  • Sleep, REM / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission / genetics*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • NR1 NMDA receptor
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Mapk1 protein, rat
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3
  • glutamate receptor ionotropic, AMPA 1