Activation of ventrolateral preoptic neurons during sleep

Science. 1996 Jan 12;271(5246):216-9. doi: 10.1126/science.271.5246.216.


The rostral hypothalamus and adjacent basal forebrain participate in the generation of sleep, but the neuronal circuitry involved in this process remains poorly characterized. Immunocytochemistry was used to identify the FOS protein, an immediate-early gene product, in a group of ventrolateral preoptic neurons that is specifically activated during sleep. The retrograde tracer cholera toxin B, in combination with FOS immunocytochemistry, was used to show that sleep-activated ventrolateral preoptic neurons innervate the tuberomammillary nucleus, a posterior hypothalamic cell group thought to participate in the modulation of arousal. This monosynaptic pathway in the hypothalamus may play a key role in determining sleep-wake states.

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 Chemistry
  • Cholera Toxin
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mammillary Bodies / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways
  • Neurons / chemistry
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Preoptic Area / cytology
  • Preoptic Area / physiology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / analysis
  • Rats
  • Sleep / physiology*


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • Cholera Toxin