Article

Activation of Ventrolateral Preoptic Neurons During Sleep

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Science (Impact Factor: 31.48). 02/1996; 271(5246):216-9. DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5246.216
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The rostral hypothalamus and adjacent basal forebrain participate in the generation of sleep, but the neuronal circuitry involved
in this process remains poorly characterized. Immunocytochemistry was used to identify the FOS protein, an immediate-early
gene product, in a group of ventrolateral preoptic neurons that is specifically activated during sleep. The retrograde tracer
cholera toxin B, in combination with FOS immunocytochemistry, was used to show that sleep-activated ventrolateral preoptic
neurons innervate the tuberomammillary nucleus, a posterior hypothalamic cell group thought to participate in the modulation
of arousal. This monosynaptic pathway in the hypothalamus may play a key role in determining sleep-wake states.

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    • "Recently, another set of sleep-promoting neurons have been identified within the lateral hypothalamus that are GABAergic. GABA and galanin are inhibitory neurotransmitters that are found in the ventrolateral preoptic area (VLPO) and the median preoptic area (MnPO), both of which are instrumental in the onset of sleep [38] [39]. The sleep-active neurons in the VLPO fire fastest during non- REM sleep, with significant decrease in firing during REM sleep, and are silent during wakefulness [40] [41] [42]. "
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