Occurrence of epilepsy at different zeitgeber times alters sleep homeostasis differently in rats

Sleep. 2012 Dec 1;35(12):1651-65. doi: 10.5665/sleep.2238.


Study objectives: Controversial sleep disruptions (e.g., poor nighttime sleep and daytime somnolence) are common in epilepsy patients. Sleep is known to be regulated by homeostatic factors, which mediate sleep propensity, and the circadian oscillator, a clocklike mechanism. However, it is unknown how epileptic episodes that occur at different zeitgeber times (ZTs) alter sleep regulation. This study was designed to elucidate the sleep disruptions associated with epilepsy and their underlying mechanisms by delivering kindled epilepsy at different ZTs: ZT0, ZT6, and ZT13.

Design: Kindled epilepsy was induced at 3 different ZTs, and sleep-wake activities were analyzed before and after full-blown seizure. Ribonuclease protection assay, radioimmunoassay, and immunohistochemistry were respectively employed to determine the levels of interleukin-1 mRNA, corticosterone, and PER1 protein.

Setting: The experiments were performed at Neurophysiology Laboratory at National Taiwan University. PARTICIPANT AND INTERVENTIONS: Male Sprague-Dawley rats were implanted with electroencephalograph (EEG) electrodes, a bipolar stimulating electrode, and a guide cannula. Kindling stimuli were delivered via a bipolar electrode placed in the right central nucleus of the amygdala.

Measurement and results: Kindled epilepsy occurring at ZT0 and ZT13 predominantly affected homeostatic factors, whereas ZT6-kindling stimuli altered the circadian oscillator. ZT0-kindling decreased rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM (NREM) sleep, which was mediated by corticotrophin-releasing hormone, but did not alter the rhythm of sleep-wake fluctuation. On the other hand, ZT13-kindling enhanced interleukin-1 and consequently increased NREM sleep without altering the sleep-wake fluctuation. Nevertheless, the expression of PER1 protein in suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus and the circadian rhythm of sleep fluctuation were respectively advanced 6 h and 2 h when kindling stimulation was delivered at ZT6. Shifts of sleep circadian rhythm and PER1 oscillation induced by ZT6-kindling were blocked by administration of hypocretin receptor antagonist SB334867 into the SCN, indicating the involvement of hypocretin.

Conclusion: These observations suggest that the occurrence of epilepsy at different ZTs alters sleep processes differently.

Citation: Yi PL; Chen YJ; Lin CT; Chang FC. Occurrence of epilepsy at different zeitgeber times alters sleep homeostasis differently in rats. SLEEP 2012;35(12):1651-1665.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiology
  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Corticosterone / metabolism
  • Epilepsy / etiology
  • Epilepsy / metabolism
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Interleukin-1 / metabolism
  • Kindling, Neurologic
  • Male
  • Period Circadian Proteins / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Wakefulness / physiology


  • Interleukin-1
  • Per1 protein, rat
  • Period Circadian Proteins
  • Corticosterone