Blanco-Centurion CA, Gerashchenko D, Murillo-Rodriguez E, Shiromani PJ (2002) Simultaneous neurotoxic lesions of noradrenergic LC, histaminergic TMN and cholinergic BF neurons do not elicit hypersomnia whereas lesions of the hypocretin-containing LH neurons do. Neuroscience 2002 Abstracts 577.16. Society for Neuroscience, Orlando, FL.
Summary: Wakefulness is believed to be due to activation of neurons in the locus coeruleus (LC), tuberomammillary nucleus (TMN) and the basal forebrain (BF). These neurons receive a heavy projection from hypocretin (HCRT) neurons. It has been proposed that the HCRT neurons maintain wakefulness via their innervation of these three groups of neurons. Here we test this hypothesis by lesioning the LC, TMN and the BF. Sprague-Dawley rats implanted with sleep recording electrodes were given microinjections of the following saporin neurotoxins to lesion specific neurons: α-DBH-saporin (vol=0.4 μL; 1 μg/μL, LC lesion) , HCRT2-saporin (vol=0.4 μL; 0.20 μg/μL, TMN lesion) and 192IgG-saporin (vol=0.5 μL; 0.4 μg/μL, BF lesion). Six rats given saline injections served as controls. Immediately after surgery sleep recordings were made continuously for three weeks. In rats that had double lesions (n=7)(combinations of LC, TMN or BF) sleep was not increased. In two rats the LC, TMN and BF were destroyed (>95%) but there was no hypersomnia either. However, one rat that had a triple lesion and also had 30% loss of HCRT neurons showed significant and persistent hypersomnia. Previously, lesion of a single wake-active neuronal population has not been found to increase sleep. We have now found that double or triple lesions also do not produce hypersomnia. Only when the HCRT neurons are lesioned, sleep is affected. This suggests that HCRT neurons play a primary role in waking and the LC, TMN or BF neurons do not mediate this function.
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