REM sleep suppression by monoamine reuptake blockade: development of tolerance with repeated drug administration

Biol Psychiatry. 1990 Aug 1;28(3):231-9. doi: 10.1016/0006-3223(90)90578-p.


Drugs that block monoamine reuptake initially suppress rapid eye movement (REM) sleep in the cat and other species. Less is known about the effects of repeated drugs administration. Desipramine (DMI) and sertraline [1S,4S-N-methyl-4-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-1 -naphthylamine] (SER), which are relatively specific in blocking norepinephrine and serotonin reuptake, respectively, were each given to cats for approximately two and a half weeks. Six-hour sleep polygraphic records were obtained under the placebo condition, after acute drug administration, and again during chronic drug administration. DMI and SER both reduced REM sleep percentage acutely and in each case. Significant tolerance then developed. These actions of DMI and SER reflected changes in mean REM sleep episode duration as well as REM sleep episode number. Such differential effects of acute and chronic monoamine reuptake blockade on REM sleep behavior in the cat may ultimately be correlated with pharmacological changes at the receptor level.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 1-Naphthylamine / analogs & derivatives
  • 1-Naphthylamine / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Cats
  • Circadian Rhythm / drug effects
  • Desipramine / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Naphthalenes / pharmacology*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Serotonin / drug effects*
  • Serotonin Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Sertraline
  • Sleep, REM / drug effects*


  • Naphthalenes
  • Receptors, Adrenergic
  • Receptors, Serotonin
  • Serotonin Antagonists
  • 1-Naphthylamine
  • Sertraline
  • Desipramine