Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Control of REM sleep: an aspect of the regulation of physiological homeostasis.

G. Zamboni, E. Perez, R. Amici, C. A. Jones, P. L. Parmeggiani


Since REM sleep is characterized by a suspension of the hypothalamic integration of homeostatic regulations, it has been assumed that the duration of both REM sleep episodes and of the time interval between the end of one episode and the beginning of the following episode may be regulated according to sleep related processes and the homeostatic needs of the organism. A series of studies performed on the rat has shown that REM sleep episodes occur as two basic types: single REM sleep episodes, that are separated by intervals greater than 3 min and sequential episodes, that are separated by intervals smaller than or equal to 3 min and appear in a cluster. Moreover, it has been observed that, in this species, a change in REM sleep occurrence is caused by a modification in the number of episodes and not in their duration. With respect to this, sleep deprivation and recovery are characterized by a decrease and an increase, respectively, in the number of sequential REM sleep episodes, but the number of single episodes tends to be kept constant. The central aspects of this kind of regulation have been examined biochemically in the preoptic-anterior hypothalamus, an area involved in the control of autonomic and sleep related processes. The results show that the accumulation of adenosine 3':5'-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) is impaired, in this region, during sleep deprivation and appears to return to the control levels, during the recovery, with a rate inversely related to the degree of the previous deprivation. Moreover, it has been observed that the systemic administration of DL-propranolol and LiCl reduces cAMP accumulation mainly in the preoptic-anterior hypothalamus; this condition is concomitant with a reduction in REM sleep occurrence.

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.