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A Hypothalamic Switch for REM and Non-REM Sleep


Authors: Kai-Siang Chen, Min Xu, Zhe Zhang, Wei-Cheng Chang, Thomas Gaj, David V. Schaffer, Yang Dan
Publication: Neuron
Date: February 22, 2018
Link to article: https://www.cell.com/neuron/fulltext/S0896-6273(18)30104-1?__hssc=91116613.49.1…


Rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM (NREM) sleep are controlled by specific neuronal circuits. Here we show that galanin-expressing GABAergic neurons in the dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH) comprise separate subpopulations with opposing effects on REM versus NREM sleep. Microendoscopic calcium imaging revealed diverse sleep-wake activity of DMH GABAergic neurons, but the galanin-expressing subset falls into two distinct groups, either selectively activated (REM-on) or suppressed (REM-off) during REM sleep. Retrogradely labeled, preoptic area (POA)-projecting galaninergic neurons are REM-off, whereas the raphe pallidus (RPA)-projecting neurons are primarily REM-on. Bidirectional optogenetic manipulations showed that the POA-projecting neurons promote NREM sleep and suppress REM sleep, while the RPA-projecting neurons have the opposite effects. Thus, REM/NREM switch is regulated antagonistically by DMH galaninergic neurons with intermingled cell bodies but distinct axon projections.

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