Monoamine Release during Unihemispheric Sleep and Unihemispheric Waking in the Fur Seal

Lyamin OI, Lapierre JL, Kosenko PO, Kodama T, Bhagwandin A, Korneva SM, Peever JH, Mukhametov LM, Siegel JM

Sleep 2016;39(3):625-36

PMID: 26715233


STUDY OBJECTIVES: Our understanding of the role of neurotransmitters in the control of the electroencephalogram (EEG) has been entirely based on studies of animals with bilateral sleep. The study of animals with unihemispheric sleep presents the opportunity of separating the neurochemical substrates of waking and sleep EEG from the systemic, bilateral correlates of sleep and waking states.

METHODS: The release of histamine (HI), norepinephrine (NE), and serotonin (5HT) in cortical and subcortical areas (hypothalamus, thalamus and caudate nucleus) was measured in unrestrained northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) using in vivo microdialysis, in combination with, polygraphic recording of EEG, electrooculogram, and neck electromyogram.

RESULTS: The pattern of cortical and subcortical HI, NE, and 5HT release in fur seals is similar during bilaterally symmetrical states: highest in active waking, reduced in quiet waking and bilateral slow wave sleep, and lowest in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Cortical and subcortical HI, NE, and 5HT release in seals is highly elevated during certain waking stimuli and behaviors, such as being sprayed with water and feeding. However, in contrast to acetylcholine (ACh), which we have previously studied, the release of HI, NE, and 5HT during unihemispheric sleep is not lateralized in the fur seal.

CONCLUSIONS: Among the studied neurotransmitters most strongly implicated in waking control, only ACh release is asymmetric in unihemispheric sleep and waking, being greatly increased on the activated side of the brain.

COMMENTARY: A commentary on this article appears in this issue on page 491.

Cataplexy-clinical aspects, pathophysiology and management strategy

Dauvilliers Y, Siegel JM, Lopez R, Torontali ZA, Peever JH

Nat Rev Neurol 2014 Jul;10(7):386-95

PMID: 24890646


Cataplexy is the pathognomonic symptom of narcolepsy, and is the sudden uncontrollable onset of skeletal muscle paralysis or weakness during wakefulness. Cataplexy is incapacitating because it leaves the individual awake but temporarily either fully or partially paralyzed. Occurring spontaneously, cataplexy is typically triggered by strong positive emotions such as laughter and is often underdiagnosed owing to a variable disease course in terms of age of onset, presenting symptoms, triggers, frequency and intensity of attacks. This disorder occurs almost exclusively in patients with depletion of hypothalamic orexin neurons. One pathogenetic mechanism that has been hypothesized for cataplexy is the activation, during wakefulness, of brainstem circuitry that normally induces muscle tone suppression in rapid eye movement sleep. Muscle weakness during cataplexy is caused by decreased excitation of noradrenergic neurons and increased inhibition of skeletal motor neurons by γ-aminobutyric acid-releasing or glycinergic neurons. The amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex contain neural pathways through which positive emotions probably trigger cataplectic attacks. Despite major advances in understanding disease mechanisms in cataplexy, therapeutic management is largely symptomatic, with antidepressants and γ-hydroxybutyrate being the most effective treatments. This Review describes the clinical and pathophysiological aspects of cataplexy, and outlines optimal therapeutic management strategies.