[Is there a bulbar pacemaker responsible for the ultradian rhythm of paradoxical sleep?]

M. Jouvet, C. Buda, J. P. Sastre


Since there are complex regulations of paradoxical sleep at the supra-pontine level, the chronic pontine preparation appears to be the best model for studying the mechanisms of the ultradian rhythm of PS (tau'). In these preparations, which are ectothermic, tau' is considerably dependent upon temperature conditions. a) PS never occurs above a central temperature (Tc) of 36 degrees C which constitutes the absolute threshold for PS. b) If Tc is regulated at a plateau between 34.5 degrees C and 35.5 degrees C, the duration of tau' corresponds to about 60 min (circhoral) whereas the duration of PS is 5 min, thus the cyclic ratio: tau'/duration of PS is 12. During deep hypothermia (from 35 degrees C to 25 degrees C), tau' of PS is temperature-compensated. It remains close to 60 min, so that its Q10 is about 1. c) However, in the same conditions, the duration of PS episodes increases from 5 min to 55 min, so that the Q10 of PS is 0.1 (8% at 35 degrees C - 80% at 25 degrees C). These data are discussed in the light of the present theories explaining tau' (i.e., the reciprocal inhibition between monoaminergic permissive systems and cholinergic executive systems). An increase in PS during hypothermia might be possible provided that it should be proved that permissive mechanisms are excited by heat while executive mechanisms would be cold-sensitive. But there are no data on this point. However, even this "differential thermosensitivity hypothesis" would not explain the striking fixity of tau' between 35 degrees C and 25 degrees C. For this reason, one should hypothetize that there is a temperature-compensated oscillator or pacemaker which would act upon both executive and permissive mechanisms. This oscillator would also be controlled by metabolic factors as shown by the effect of O2 and prolactin.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4449/aib.v134i1.645


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