Maternal stress induces adult reduced REM sleep and melatonin level.

Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.
Developmental Neurobiology (Impact Factor: 4.42). 07/2011; 72(5):677-87. DOI: 10.1002/dneu.20961
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We have previously reported that neonatal maternal deprivation (MD) resulted in a decrease of total sleep and an increase of orexin A in adult rats. Now, we characterized features of sleep, activity, and melatonin levels in rats neonatally treated with MD and control (MC) procedures. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with either MD or MC procedures for 10 days starting at postnatal day 4. At 3 months of age, sleep was recorded for 48 h in one set of MD and MC rats, while another set of MD and MC rats was measured for locomotor activity (under LD = 12:12). Melatonin levels in the blood, pineal gland, and hypothalamus were measured as well as clock protein level in the hypothalamus. Compared to the MC rats, REM sleep in the MD rats was significantly reduced in the light periods but not in the dark periods. Both quiet wake and total wake in the MD rats were significantly increased during the light period compared to the MC rats. The weight of the pineal gland of the MD rats was significantly smaller than in MC rats. Melatonin levels of the MD group were significantly reduced in the pineal gland and hypothalamus compared to the MC group. No significant difference was identified between groups in the expression of the clock protein in the hypothalamus. Neonatal MD resulted in reduced REM sleep and melatonin levels, without changes of circadian cycle of locomotor activity and levels of clock protein.

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