Rapid-eye movement sleep and muscarinic receptor binding in rats are augmented during withdrawal from chronic scopolamine treatment

Life Sci. 1986 Dec 22;39(25):2419-27. doi: 10.1016/0024-3205(86)90483-2.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether a seven day, once-daily morning administration of scopolamine produces upregulation of muscarinic receptors and augments REMS during withdrawal. After obtaining two, six-hour baseline sleep recordings, beginning at 0900, independent groups of rats were administered either scopolamine or saline every morning for seven days. Six hour sleep recordings were obtained following the first and seventh day of injection and during the two subsequent withdrawal days. After obtaining the last sleep recording the rats were sacrificed and the following brain areas removed: cerebral cortex, hippocampii, caudate nuclei, brainstem, and cerebellum. 3H-QNB was used as the ligand to assess for changes in muscarinic receptor binding. Compared to baseline, scopolamine produced a significant decrease in REMS during the period of drug administration. During the withdrawal days, however, REMS increased during the morning period. Compared to the saline group, the scopolamine treated animals had increased muscarinic receptor binding in the caudate and hippocampus; no significant change in receptor density was observed in the cortex, brainstem or cerebellum.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Caudate Nucleus / metabolism
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / drug effects
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / metabolism*
  • Scopolamine / pharmacology*
  • Sleep / drug effects
  • Sleep, REM / drug effects*


  • Receptors, Muscarinic
  • Scopolamine