Gerashchenko D, Blanco-Centurion C, Shiromani PJ (2002) Hypocretin2-saporin (HCRT2-SAP) lesions of the lateral hypothalamus does not affect the entrained or free-running rhythm of core body temperature. Neuroscience 2002 Abstracts 776.2. Society for Neuroscience, Orlando, FL.
Summary: Hypocretin (HCRT)neurons are present only in the lateral hypothalamus (LH) from where they project heavily to major arousal centers. HCRT neurons are lost in the sleep disorder narcolepsy, an illness characterized by an increased tendency to fall asleep during the normal active period. As such, it is hypothesized that HCRT neurons are responsible for “waking-up” the brain. To test this hypothesis we monitored the rhythm of core body temperature during entrained & free-run conditions after lesions of the HCRT neurons. 23 male Long-Evans rats implanted with sleep recording electrodes and a temperature transmitter were given one of two concentrations (90 ng/0.5 ìl vs 490 ng/0.5 ìl) of the neurotoxin hypocretin2-saporin (HCRT2-SAP) or unconjugated saporin to the LH. Control rats received saline (n=5). After surgery, sleep and temperature were continuously recorded for 21d in entrained conditions followed by 21d in continuous darkness. Both concentrations of the HCRT2-SAP lesioned HCRT neurons (88% vs 91% HCRT loss). However, HCRT lesions did not disrupt the entrained rhythm of core temperature by either advancing or delaying the phase position of the temperature rhythm. In the saline rats, the free-run period of temperature rhythm (tau) was 24.16 (±0.07) and this was not significantly different in the HCRT2-SAP or SAP rats. These results indicate that in the absence of HCRT, the animal wakes up at the correct time of day but then is not able to stay awake.
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