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Most dynorphin neurons in the zona incerta-perifornical area are active in waking relative to non-rapid-eye movement and rapid-eye movement sleep


Authors: Priyattam J Shiromani, Aurelio Vidal-Ortiz
Publication: Sleep
Date: March 6, 2024
Link to article: https://academic.oup.com/sleep/advance-article/doi/10.1093/sleep/zsae065/7623290


Dynorphin is an endogenous opiate localized in many brain regions and spinal cord, but the activity of dynorphin neurons during sleep is unknown. Dynorphin is an inhibitory neuropeptide that is coreleased with orexin, an excitatory neuropeptide. We used microendoscopy to test the hypothesis that, like orexin, the dynorphin neurons are wake-active. Dynorphin-cre mice (n = 3) were administered rAAV8-Ef1a-Con/Foff 2.0-GCaMP6M into the zona incerta-perifornical area, implanted with a GRIN lens (gradient reflective index), and electrodes to the skull that recorded sleep. One month later, a miniscope imaged calcium fluorescence in dynorphin neurons during multiple bouts of wake, non-rapid-eye movement (NREM), and rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep. Unbiased data analysis identified changes in calcium fluorescence in 64 dynorphin neurons. Most of the dynorphin neurons (72%) had the highest fluorescence during bouts of active and quiet waking compared to NREM or REM sleep; a subset (20%) were REM-max. Our results are consistent with the emerging evidence that the activity of orexin neurons can be classified as wake-max or REM-max. Since the two neuropeptides are coexpressed and coreleased, we suggest that dynorphin-cre-driven calcium sensors could increase understanding of the role of this endogenous opiate in pain and sleep.

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