[The roles of glutamate in sleep and wakefulness]

Zhejiang Da Xue Xue Bao Yi Xue Ban. 2013 Sep;42(5):583-90.
[Article in Chinese]


Glutamate as an excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, participate in initiation and maintaining of sleep and wakefulness. The paper presents an overview of the research progress of glutamate in the regulation of sleep and wakefulness, especially focuses on its role in the brainstem, lateral hypothalamus and basal forebrain. Glutamate in the brain stem regulates the brain activity and maintains muscle tone during the wakefulness, as well as adjusts the electroencephalograph (EEG) in rapid eye movement phase and leads to muscle weakness. Glutamate in the lateral hypothalamus participates in the lateral hypothalamic arousal system by activating orexins neurons. The basal forebrain glutamatergic neurons take part in EEG synchronization and cause the decrease of sleep. Finally,The glutamatergic neurons of the cerebral cortex is not just a target of the arousal system, but itself contribute to regulation of arousal. Meantime, the glutamatergic neurons can regulate sleep stages through interaction with other types of neurons, which forms a complex sleep-wake regulation network in the brain. These indicate that the switches between different phases of sleep and wakefulness have different neuronal circuits.So we also reviewed the neuronal circuits and mechanisms that glutamate may be involved in. This review will help us to get a better understanding of the roles of glutamate in sleep and wakefulness.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Glutamic Acid / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Wakefulness / physiology*


  • Glutamic Acid