Stephanie E Gaus

Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, United States

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Publications (8)44.24 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The sleep disorder narcolepsy is caused by a vast reduction in neurons producing the hypocretin (orexin) neuropeptides. Based on the tight association with HLA, narcolepsy is believed to result from an autoimmune attack, but the cause of hypocretin cell loss is still unknown. We performed gene expression profiling in the hypothalamus to identify novel genes dysregulated in narcolepsy, as these may be the target of autoimmune attack or modulate hypocretin gene expression. We used microarrays to compare the transcriptome in the posterior hypothalamus of (1) narcoleptic versus control postmortem human brains and (2) transgenic mice lacking hypocretin neurons versus wild type mice. Hypocretin was the most downregulated gene in human narcolepsy brains. Among many additional candidates, only one, insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 (IGFBP3), was downregulated in both human and mouse models and co-expressed in hypocretin neurons. Functional analysis indicated decreased hypocretin messenger RNA and peptide content, and increased sleep in transgenic mice overexpressing human IGFBP3, an effect possibly mediated through decreased hypocretin promotor activity in the presence of excessive IGFBP3. Although we found no IGFBP3 autoantibodies nor a genetic association with IGFBP3 polymorphisms in human narcolepsy, we found that an IGFBP3 polymorphism known to increase serum IGFBP3 levels was associated with lower CSF hypocretin-1 in normal individuals. Comparison of the transcriptome in narcolepsy and narcolepsy model mouse brains revealed a novel dysregulated gene which colocalized in hypocretin cells. Functional analysis indicated that the identified IGFBP3 is a new regulator of hypocretin cell physiology that may be involved not only in the pathophysiology of narcolepsy, but also in the regulation of sleep in normal individuals, most notably during adolescence. Further studies are required to address the hypothesis that excessive IGFBP3 expression may initiate hypocretin cell death and cause narcolepsy.
    PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(1):e4254. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hypocretins/orexins are neuropeptides involved in the regulation of sleep and energy balance in mammals. Conservation of gene sequence, hypothalamic localization of cell bodies, and projection patterns in adult zebrafish suggest that the architecture and function of the hypocretin system are conserved in fish. We report on the complete genomic structure of the zebrafish and Tetraodon hypocretin genes and the complete predicted hypocretin protein sequences from five teleosts. Using whole mount in situ hybridization, we have traced the development of hypocretin cells in zebrafish from onset of expression at 22 h post-fertilization through the first week of development. Promoter elements of similar size from zebrafish and Tetraodon were capable of driving efficient and specific expression of enhanced green fluorescent protein in developing zebrafish embryos, thus defining a minimal promoter region able to accurately mimic the native hypocretin pattern. This enhanced green fluorescent protein expression also revealed a complex pattern of projections within the hypothalamus, to the midbrain, and to the spinal cord. To further analyze the promoter, a series of deletion and substitution constructs were injected into embryos, and resulting promoter activity was monitored in the first week of development. A critical region of 250 base pairs was identified containing a core 13-base pair element essential for hypocretin expression.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2006; 281(40):29753-61. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Stephanie E Gaus, Ling Lin, Emmanuel Mignot
    Sleep 01/2006; 28(12):1607-8. · 5.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) contains the brain's circadian pacemaker, but mechanisms by which it controls circadian rhythms of sleep and related behaviors are poorly understood. Previous anatomic evidence has implicated the dorsomedial hypothalamic nucleus (DMH) in circadian control of sleep, but this hypothesis remains untested. We now show that excitotoxic lesions of the DMH reduce circadian rhythms of wakefulness, feeding, locomotor activity, and serum corticosteroid levels by 78-89% while also reducing their overall daily levels. We also show that the DMH receives both direct and indirect SCN inputs and sends a mainly GABAergic projection to the sleep-promoting ventrolateral preoptic nucleus, and a mainly glutamate-thyrotropin-releasing hormone projection to the wake-promoting lateral hypothalamic area, including orexin (hypocretin) neurons. Through these pathways, the DMH may influence a wide range of behavioral circadian rhythms.
    Journal of Neuroscience 12/2003; 23(33):10691-702. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We found previously that damage to a cluster of sleep-active neurons (Fos-positive during sleep) in the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus (VLPO) decreases non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep in rats, whereas injury to the sleep-active cells extending dorsally and medially from the VLPO cluster (the extended VLPO) diminishes REM sleep. These results led us to examine whether neurons in the extended VLPO are activated during REM sleep and the connectivity of these neurons with pontine sites implicated in producing REM sleep: the laterodorsal tegmental nucleus (LDT), dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN), and locus ceruleus (LC). After periods of dark exposure that triggered enrichment of REM sleep, the number of Fos-positive cells in the extended VLPO was highly correlated with REM but not NREM sleep. In contrast, the number of Fos-positive cells in the VLPO cluster was correlated with NREM but not REM sleep. Sixty percent of sleep-active cells in the extended VLPO and 90% of sleep-active cells in the VLPO cluster in dark-treated animals contained galanin mRNA. Retrograde tracing from the LDT, DRN, and LC demonstrated more labeled cells in the extended VLPO than the VLPO cluster, and 50% of these in the extended VLPO were sleep-active. Anterograde tracing showed that projections from the extended VLPO and VLPO cluster targeted the cell bodies and dendrites of DRN serotoninergic neurons and LC noradrenergic neurons but were not apposed to cholinergic neurons in the LDT. The connections and physiological activity of the extended VLPO suggest a specialized role in the regulation of REM sleep.
    Journal of Neuroscience 07/2002; 22(11):4568-76. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sleep is influenced by diverse factors such as circadian time, affective states, ambient temperature, pain, etc., but pathways mediating these influences are unknown. To identify pathways that may influence sleep, we examined afferents to the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus (VLPO), an area critically implicated in promoting sleep. Injections of the retrograde tracer cholera toxin B subunit (CTB) into the VLPO produced modest numbers of CTB-labeled monoaminergic neurons in the tuberomammillary nucleus, raphe nuclei, and ventrolateral medulla, as well as a few neurons in the locus coeruleus. Immunohistochemistry for monoaminergic markers showed dense innervation of the VLPO by histaminergic, noradrenergic, and serotonergic fibers. Along with previous findings, these results suggest that the VLPO and monoaminergic nuclei may be reciprocally connected. Retrograde and anterograde tracing showed moderate or heavy inputs to the VLPO from hypothalamic regions including the median preoptic nucleus, lateral hypothalamic area, and dorsomedial hypothalamic nucleus (DMH), autonomic regions including the infralimbic cortex and parabrachial nucleus, and limbic regions including the lateral septal nucleus and ventral subiculum. Light to moderate inputs arose from orexin and melanin concentrating hormone neurons, but cholinergic or dopaminergic inputs were extremely sparse. Suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) projections to the VLPO were sparse, but the heavy input to the VLPO from the DMH, which receives direct and indirect SCN inputs, could provide an alternate pathway regulating the circadian timing of sleep. These robust pathways suggest candidate mechanisms by which sleep may be influenced by brain systems regulating arousal, autonomic, limbic, and circadian functions.
    Journal of Neuroscience 03/2002; 22(3):977-90. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The ventrolateral preoptic nucleus (VLPO) is a group of sleep-active neurons that has been identified in the hypothalamus of rats and is thought to inhibit the major ascending monoaminergic arousal systems during sleep; lesions of the VLPO cause insomnia. Identification of the VLPO in other species has been complicated by the lack of a marker for this cell population, other than the expression of Fos during sleep. We now report that a high percentage of the sleep-active (Fos-expressing) VLPO neurons express mRNA for the inhibitory neuropeptide, galanin, in nocturnal rodents (mice and rats), diurnal rodents (degus), and cats. A homologous (i.e. galanin mRNA-containing cell group) is clearly distinguishable in the ventrolateral region of the preoptic area in diurnal and nocturnal monkeys, as well as in humans. Galanin expression may serve to identify sleep-active neurons in the ventrolateral preoptic area of the mammalian brain. The VLPO appears to be a critical component of sleep circuitry across multiple species, and we hypothesize that shrinkage of the VLPO with advancing age may explain sleep deficits in elderly humans.
    Neuroscience 02/2002; 115(1):285-94. · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), the circadian pacemaker for the brain, provides a massive projection to the subparaventricular zone (SPZ), but the role of the SPZ in circadian processes has received little attention. We examined the effects on circadian rhythms of sleep, body temperature, and activity in rats of restricted ibotenic acid lesions of the ventral or dorsal SPZ that spared the immediately adjacent paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus (PVH) and the SCN. Ventral SPZ lesions caused profound reduction of measures of circadian index of sleep (by 90%) and locomotor activity (75% reduction) but had less effect on body temperature (50% reduction); dorsal SPZ lesions caused greater reduction of circadian index of body temperature (by 70%) but had less effect on circadian index of locomotor activity (45% reduction) or sleep (<5% reduction). The loss of circadian regulation of body temperature or sleep was replaced by a strong ultradian rhythm (period approximately 3 hr). Lesions of the PVH, immediately dorsal to the SPZ, had no significant effect on any circadian rhythms that we measured, nor did the lesions affect the baseline body temperature. However, the fever response after intravenous injection of lipopolysaccharide (5 microg/kg) was markedly decreased in the rats with PVH lesions (66.6%) but not dorsal SPZ lesions. These results indicate that circadian rhythms of sleep and body temperatures are regulated by separate neuronal populations in the SPZ, and different aspects of thermoregulation (circadian rhythm and fever response) are controlled by distinct anatomical substrates.
    Journal of Neuroscience 07/2001; 21(13):4864-74. · 6.91 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

709 Citations
44.24 Total Impact Points


  • 2006–2009
    • Stanford University
      • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
      Palo Alto, California, United States
  • 2002–2003
    • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
      • Department of Neurology
      Boston, MA, United States