Dr Raphaelle Winsky-Sommerer
Academic and research departmentsSchool of Biosciences.
Senior Lecturer in Sleep & Circadian Rhythms (since April 2012)Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, UK.
Lecturer in Sleep & Circadian Rhythms (October 2009)Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, UK.
Research Associate in Sleep & Chronobiology (2004-2009)Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.
Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Neuroscience (2002-2004)Department of Molecular Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, USA.
Ph.D. Cellular & Molecular Biology, Biology of Ageing (1998-2002)University of René Descartes Paris 5, France. INSERM U549, Paris, France.
Master in Biochemistry & Biology of Ageing (1996-1998)(Master I in Biochemistry; Master II = French DEA in Biology of Ageing)University of Paris 5 & 7, France.
Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry (1994-1996)University of Paris 7, France.
Sleep & Circadian Rhythms - Pharmacology of Sleep and WakefulnessCellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of the daily sleep-wake cycle; Hypnotics and wake-promoting compounds.
Physiology of Neurotransmitter & Neuropeptide SystemsGABAergic transmission and GABAA receptors; adenosinergic system; neuropeptides (i.e., hypocretins/orexins, corticotrophin-releasing hormone, somatostatin/cortistatin, vasopressin, oxytocin).
Disorders of the Central Nervous System - AgingInsomnia; Stress; Addiction; Aging; Neurodegenerative diseases (i.e., Alzheimer's disease)
- New Investigator Research Grant- British Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; BB/I008926/1; 2011-2014; £494,741; 36 months; to R. Winsky-Sommerer (PI).
- Investigator-initiated Research Grant- Pharmaceutical Company; £157,745; 12 months; to R. Winsky-Sommerer (PI), D-J Dijk, S. Archer.
- Feasibility Study Grant- MILES (Models and Mathematics in Life and Social Sciences) University of Surrey; £11,561; to K. Wells, A. Hilton, J. Kilner, R. Winsky-Sommerer.
- Sponsor Award- Grant Seminar Competition 2010-2011, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Surrey; £2,500 to R. Winsky-Sommerer & D-J Dijk. Two-day international workshop “Multidisciplinary Dissection of Sleep Phenotypes in Animals and Humans”, July 13-14, 2011
- University of Surrey.Research Grant- Forschungskredit 2007 University of Zurich; FK2007#54321101; 2007-2009; CHF100,000; 24 months; to R. Winsky-Sommerer (PI).
- Award for Outstanding Basic Sleep Research 2009- Swiss Society of Sleep Research, Sleep Medicine and Chronobiology.
BMS1023 Chemistry & Mathematics for the BiosciencesBMS1030 BiochemistryBMS2033 Analytical Biochemistry & ChemistryBMS2046 Pathology and MedicineBMS3055 Pharmacology 2BMS3064 Neuroscience 2 - Module organiserMSc Clinical Biochemistry
Supervision of research students (BSc, MSc and PhD students)
- Divisional Representative on the Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences Ethics Committee (since 2010)
- Organiser of external (national and international) speakers for the monthly Sleep, Chronobiology & Neurodisorders Theme meetings (since 2010)
European Sleep Research Society (ESRS) - Coordinator of the ESRS forum for Women in Sleep ResearchSleep Research Society (SRS)FENS (Federation of European Neuroscience Societies)British Neuroscience Society (BNA)
Aging is associated with substantial physiological changes and constitutes a major risk factor for neurological disorders including dementia. Alterations in gene expression upon aging have been extensively studied; however, an in-depth characterization of post-transcriptional regulatory events remains elusive. Here, we profiled the age-related changes of the transcriptome and translatome in the female mouse hippocampus by RNA sequencing of total RNA and polysome preparations at four ages (3-, 6-, 12-, 20-month-old); and we implemented a variety of bioinformatics approaches to unravel alterations in transcript abundance, alternative splicing, and polyadenylation site selection. We observed mostly well-coordinated transcriptome and translatome expression signatures across age including upregulation of transcripts related to immune system processes and neuroinflammation, though transcripts encoding ribonucleoproteins or associated with mitochondrial functions, calcium signaling and the cell-cycle displayed substantial discordant profiles, suggesting translational control associated with age-related deficits in hippocampal-dependent behavior. By contrast, alternative splicing was less preserved, increased with age and was associated with distinct functionally-related transcripts encoding proteins acting at synapses/dendrites, RNA-binding proteins; thereby predicting regulatory roles for RBM3 and CIRBP. Only minor changes in polyadenylation site selection were identified, indicating pivotal 3′-end selection in young adults compared to older groups. Overall, our study provides a comprehensive resource of age-associated post-transcriptional regulatory events in the mouse hippocampus, enabling further examination of the molecular features underlying age-associated neurological diseases.
Metabolic rhythms include rapid, ultradian (hourly) dynamics, but it is unclear what their relationship to circadian metabolic rhythms is, and what role meal timing plays in coordinating these ultradian rhythms in metabolism. Here, we characterised widespread ultradian rhythms under ad libitum feeding conditions in the plasma metabolome of the vole, the gold standard animal model for behavioural ultradian rhythms, naturally expressing ~2-hour foraging rhythms throughout the day and night. These ultradian metabolite rhythms co-expressed with diurnal 24-hour rhythms in the same metabolites and did not align with food intake patterns. Specifically, under light-dark entrained conditions we showed twice daily entrainment of phase and period of ultradian behavioural rhythms associated by phase adjustment of the ultradian cycle around the light-dark and dark-light transitions. These ultradian activity patterns also drove an ultradian feeding pattern. We used a unique approach to map this behavioural activity/feeding status to high temporal resolution (every 90 minutes) measures of plasma metabolite profiles across the 24-hour light-dark cycle. A total of 148 known metabolites were detected in vole plasma. Supervised, discriminant analysis did not group metabolite concentration by feeding status, instead, unsupervised clustering of metabolite time courses revealed clusters of metabolites that exhibited significant ultradian rhythms with periods different from the feeding cycle. Two clusters with dissimilar ultradian dynamics, one lipid-enriched (period = 3.4 h) and one amino acid-enriched (period = 4.1 h), both showed co-expression with diurnal cycles. A third cluster solely comprised of glycerophospholipids (specifically ether-linked phosphatidylcholines) and expressed an 11.9 h ultradian rhythm without co-expressed diurnal rhythmicity. Our findings show coordinated co-expression of diurnal metabolic rhythms with rapid dynamics in feeding and metabolism. These findings reveal that ultradian rhythms are integral to biological timing of metabolic regulation, and will be important in interpreting the impact of circadian desynchrony and meal timing on metabolic rhythms.
Several cellular pathways contribute to neurodegenerative tauopathy-related disorders. Microglial activation, a major component of neuroinflammation, is an early pathological hallmark that correlates with cognitive decline, while the unfolded protein response (UPR) contributes to synaptic pathology. Sleep disturbances are prevalent in tauopathies and may also contribute to disease progression. Few studies have investigated whether manipulations of sleep influence cellular pathological and behavioural features of tauopathy. We investigated whether trazodone, a licensed antidepressant with hypnotic efficacy in dementia, can reduce disease-related cellular pathways and improve memory and sleep in male rTg4510 mice with a tauopathy-like phenotype. In a 9-week dosing regimen, trazodone decreased microglial NLRP3 inflammasome expression and phosphorylated p38mitogen-activated protein kinase levels which correlated with the NLRP3 inflammasome, the UPR effector ATF4, and total tau levels. Trazodone reduced theta oscillations during REM sleep and enhanced rapid eye movement (REM) sleep duration. Olfactory memory transiently improved, and memory performance correlated with REM sleep duration and theta oscillations. These findings on the effects of trazodone on the NLRP3 inflammasome, the unfolded protein response and behavioural hallmarks of dementia warrant further studies on the therapeutic value of sleep-modulating compounds for tauopathies.
Symbolic dynamic analysis (SDA) methods have been applied to biomedical signals and have been proven efficient in characterising differences in the electroencephalogram (EEG) in various conditions (e.g., epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases). In this study, we investigated the use of SDA on EEGs recorded during sleep. Lempel-Ziv Complexity (LZC), Permutation Entropy (PE), Permutation Lempel-Ziv Complexity (PLZC), as well as power spectral analysis based on the fast Fourier transform (FFT), were applied to 8-h sleep EEG recordings in healthy men (n=31) and women (n=29), aged 20-74 years. The results of the SDA methods and FFT analysis were compared and the effects of age and sex were investigated. Surrogate data were used to determine whether the findings with SDA methods truly reflected changes in non-linear dynamics of the EEG and not merely changes in the power spectrum. The surrogate data analysis showed that LZC merely reflected spectral changes in EEG activity, whereas PE and PLZC reflected genuine changes in the non-linear dynamics of the EEG. All three SDA techniques distinguished the vigilance states (i.e. wakefulness, REM sleep, NREM sleep and its sub stages: stage 1, stage 2 and slow wave sleep). Complexity of the sleep EEG increased with ageing. Sex on the other hand did not affect the complexity values assessed with any of these three SDA methods, even though FFT detected sex differences. This study shows that SDA provides additional insights into the dynamics of sleep EEG and how it is affected by ageing.
Sleep homeostasis and circadian rhythmicity interact to determine the timing of behavioral activity. Circadian clock genes contribute to circadian rhythmicity centrally and in the periphery, but some also have roles within sleep regulation. The clock gene Period3 (Per3) has a redundant function within the circadian system and is associated with sleep homeostasis in humans. This study investigated the role of PER3 in sleep/wake activity and sleep homeostasis in mice by recording wheel running activity under baseline conditions in wild-type (WT; n = 54) and in PER3-deficient (Per3(-/-); n = 53) mice, as well as EEG-assessed sleep before and after 6 hours of sleep deprivation in WT (n = 7) and Per3(-/-) (n = 8) mice. Whereas total activity and vigilance states did not differ between the genotypes, the temporal distribution of wheel running activity, vigilance states, and EEG delta activity was affected by genotype. In Per3(-/-) mice, running wheel activity was increased and REM sleep and NREM sleep were reduced in the middle of the dark phase, and delta activity was enhanced at the end of the dark phase. At the beginning of the baseline light period, there was less wakefulness and more REM and NREM in Per3(-/-) mice. Per3(-/-) mice spent less time in wakefulness and more time in NREM sleep in the light period immediately after sleep deprivation and REM sleep accumulated more slowly during the recovery dark phase. These data confirm a role for PER3 in sleep/wake timing and sleep homeostasis.
In humans, a primate-specific variable-number tandem-repeat (VNTR) polymorphism (4 or 5 repeats 54 nt in length) in the circadian gene PER3 is associated with differences in sleep timing and homeostatic responses to sleep loss. We investigated the effects of this polymorphism on circadian rhythmicity and sleep homeostasis by introducing the polymorphism into mice and assessing circadian and sleep parameters at baseline and during and after 12 h of sleep deprivation (SD). Microarray analysis was used to measure hypothalamic and cortical gene expression. Circadian behavior and sleep were normal at baseline. The response to SD of 2 electrophysiological markers of sleep homeostasis, electroencephalography (EEG) θ power during wakefulness and δ power during sleep, were greater in the Per3(5/5) mice. During recovery, the Per3(5/5) mice fully compensated for the SD-induced deficit in δ power, but the Per3(4/4) and wild-type mice did not. Sleep homeostasis-related transcripts (e.g., Homer1, Ptgs2, and Kcna2) were differentially expressed between the humanized mice, but circadian clock genes were not. These data are in accordance with the hypothesis derived from human data that the PER3 VNTR polymorphism modifies the sleep homeostatic response without significantly influencing circadian parameters.-Hasan, S., van der Veen, D. R., Winsky-Sommerer, R., Hogben, A., Laing, E. E., Koentgen, F., Dijk, D.-J., Archer, S. N. A human sleep homeostasis phenotype in mice expressing a primate-specific PER3 variable-number tandem-repeat coding-region polymorphism.
Nicotine addiction is considered to be the main preventable cause of death worldwide. While growing evidence indicates that the neurohypophysial peptide oxytocin can modulate the addictive properties of several abused drugs, the regulation of the oxytocinergic system following nicotine administration has so far received little attention. Here, we examined the effects of long-term nicotine or saline administration on the central oxytocinergic system using [(125)I]OVTA autoradiographic binding in mouse brain. Male, 7-week old C57BL6J mice were treated with either nicotine (7.8 mg/kg daily; rate of 0.5 μl per hour) or saline for a period of 14-days via osmotic minipumps. Chronic nicotine administration induced a marked region-specific upregulation of the oxytocin receptor binding in the amygdala, a brain region involved in stress and emotional regulation. These results provide direct evidence for nicotine-induced neuroadaptations in the oxytocinergic system, which may be involved in the modulation of nicotine-seeking as well as emotional consequence of chronic drug use.
While several methods have been used to restrict the sleep of experimental animals, it is often unclear whether these different forms of sleep restriction have comparable effects on sleepwake architecture or functional capacity. The present study compared four models of sleep restriction, using enforced wakefulness by rotation of cylindrical home cages over 11-hours in male Wistar rats. These included an electroencephalographic (EEG)-driven “Biofeedback” method and three non-invasive methods where rotation was triggered according to a “Constant”, “Decreasing”, or a random protocol based upon the “Weibull” distribution fit to an archival Biofeedback dataset. The sleep-wake architecture was determined using polysomnography and functional capacity was assessed immediately post-restriction with a simple response latency task (SRLT), as a potential homologue of the human psychomotor vigilance task. All sleep restriction protocols resulted in sleep loss, behavioural task disengagement and rebound sleep, although no model was as effective as real-time EEG-biofeedback. Decreasing and Weibull protocols produced greater recovery sleep than the Constant protocol, mirrored by comparably worse SRLT performance. Increases in urinary corticosterone levels following Constant and Decreasing protocols suggested that stress levels may differ between protocols. Overall, these results provide insights into the value of choosing a specific sleep restriction protocol, not only from the perspective of animal welfare and the use of less invasive procedures, but also translational validity. A more considered choice of the physiological and functional effects of sleep restriction protocols in rodents may improve correspondence with specific types of excessive daytime sleepiness in humans.
There is increasing evidence that sleep facilitates memory acquisition and consolidation. Moreover, the sleep-wake history preceding memory acquisition and retention as well as circadian timing may be important. We showed previously that sleep deprivation (SD) following learning in OF1 mice impaired their performance on an object recognition task. The learning task was scheduled at the end of the 12 h dark period and the test 24 h later. To investigate the influence of the prominent circadian sleep-wake distribution typical for rodents, we now scheduled the learning task at the beginning of the dark period. Wakefulness following immediately after the learning task was attained either by gentle interference (SD; n = 20) or by spontaneous wheel running (RW; n = 20). Two control groups were used: one had no RW throughout the experiment (n = 23), while the other group's wheel was blocked immediately after acquisition (n = 16), thereby preventing its use until testing. Recognition memory, defined as the difference in exploration of a novel and of familiar objects, was assessed 24 h later during the test phase. Motor activity and RW use were continuously recorded. Remarkably, performance on the object recognition task was not influenced by the protocols; the waking period following acquisition did not impair memory, independent of the method inducing wakefulness (i.e., sleep deprivation or spontaneous running). Thus, all groups explored the novel object significantly longer than the familiar ones during the test phase. Interestingly, neither the amount of rest lost during the SD interventions nor the amount of rest preceding acquisition influenced performance. However, the total amount of rest obtained by the control and SD mice subjected to acquisition at “dark offset” correlated positively (r = 0.66) with memory at test, while no such relationship occurred in the corresponding groups tested at dark onset. Neither the amount of running nor intermediate rest correlated with performance at test in the RW group. We conclude that interfering with sleep during the dark period does not affect object recognition memory consolidation.
To test the hypothesis that sleep can reverse cognitive impairment during Alzheimer’s disease, we enhanced sleep in flies either co-expressing human amyloid precursor protein and Beta-secretase (APP:BACE), or in flies expressing human tau. The ubiquitous expression of APP:BACE or human tau disrupted sleep. The sleep deficits could be reversed and sleep could be enhanced when flies were administered the GABA-A agonist 4,5,6,7-tetrahydroisoxazolo-[5,4-c]pyridine-3-ol (THIP). Expressing APP:BACE disrupted both Short-term memory (STM) and Long-term memory (LTM) as assessed using Aversive Phototaxic Suppression (APS) and courtship conditioning. Flies expressing APP:BACE also showed reduced levels of the synaptic protein discs large (DLG). Enhancing sleep in memory-impaired APP:BACE flies fully restored both STM and LTM and restored DLG levels. Sleep also restored STM to flies expressing human tau. Using live-brain imaging of individual clock neurons expressing both tau and the cAMP sensor Epac1-camps, we found that tau disrupted cAMP signaling. Importantly, enhancing sleep in flies expressing human tau restored proper cAMP signaling. Thus, we demonstrate that sleep can be used as a therapeutic to reverse deficits that accrue during the expression of toxic peptides associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
There is mounting evidence that the neuropeptide oxytocin is a possible candidate for the treatment of drug addiction. Oxytocin was shown to reduce methamphetamine self-administration, conditioned place-preference, hyperactivity and reinstatement in rodents, highlighting its potential for the management of methamphetamine addiction. Thus, we hypothesised that the central endogenous oxytocinergic system is dysregulated following chronic methamphetamine administration. We tested this hypothesis by examining the effect of chronic methamphetamine administration on oxytocin receptor density in mice brains with the use of quantitative receptor autoradiographic binding. Saline (4 ml/kg/day, i.p.) or methamphetamine (1 mg/kg/day, i.p.) was administered daily for 10 days to male, CD1 mice. Quantitative autoradiographic mapping of oxytocin receptors was carried out with the use of [I]-vasotocin in brain sections of these animals. Chronic methamphetamine administration induced a region specific upregulation of oxytocin receptor density in the amygdala and hypothalamus, but not in the nucleus accumbens and caudate putamen. As there is evidence suggesting an involvement of central adenosine A receptors on central endogenous oxytocinergic function, we investigated whether these methamphetamine-induced oxytocinergic neuroadaptations are mediated via an A receptor-dependent mechanism. To test this hypothesis, autoradiographic oxytocin receptor binding was carried out in brain sections of male CD1 mice lacking A receptors which were chronically treated with methamphetamine (1 mg/kg/day, i.p. for 10 days) or saline. Similar to wild-type animals, chronic methamphetamine administration induced a region-specific upregulation of oxytocin receptor binding in the amygdala and hypothalamus of A receptor knockout mice and no genotype effect was observed. These results indicate that chronic methamphetamine use can induce profound neuroadaptations of the oxytocinergic receptor system in brain regions associated with stress, emotionality and social bonding and that these neuroadaptations are independent on the presence of A receptors. These results may at least partly explain some of the behavioural consequences of chronic methamphetamine use. © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The hypothalamic neuropeptides hypocretins (orexins) play a crucial role in the stability of arousal and alertness. Recent data have raised the hypothesis that hypocretin neurons are also part of the circuitries that mediate the hypothalamic stress response. In particular, we have recently demonstrated that corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF)immunoreactive terminals make direct synaptic contacts with hypocretin-expressing neurons and that numerous hypocretinergic neurons express the CRF-R1/2 receptors. Furthermore, CRF excites hypocretinergic cells ex vivo through CRF-R1 receptors. Activation of hypocretinergic neurons in response to acute stress is severely impaired in CRF-R1 knockout mice. Moreover, the stress response is impaired in hypocretin-deficient mice. We propose that upon stressor stimuli, CRF stimulates the release of hypocretins, and this circuit contributes to activation and maintenance of arousal associated with the stress response and addiction. (c) 2005 Prous Science. All rights reserved.
Study Objectives. Sleep restriction leads to performance decrements across cognitive domains but underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. The impact of sleep restriction on performance in rodents is often assessed using tasks in which food is the reward. Investigating how the drives of hunger and sleep interact to modulate performance may provide insights into mechanisms underlying sleep loss related performance decrements. Methods. Three experiments were conducted in male adult Wistar rats to assess: 1) Effects of food restriction on performance in the simple response latency task (SRLT) across the diurnal cycle (n=30); 2) Interaction of food restriction and sleep restriction (11-h) on SRLT performance, sleep EEG and event-related potentials (ERP) (n=10-13); 3) Effects of food restriction and sleep restriction on progressive ratio (PR) task performance to probe the reward value of food reinforcement (n=19). Results. Food restriction increased premature responding on the SRLT at the end of the light period of the diurnal cycle. Sleep restriction led to marked impairments in SRLT performance in the ad libitum-fed group, which were absent in the food-restricted group. After sleep restriction, food restricted rats displayed a higher amplitude of cue-evoked ERP components during the SRLT compared to the ad libitum group. Sleep restriction did not affect PR performance while food restriction improved performance. Conclusions. Hunger may induce a functional resilience to negative effects of sleep loss during subsequent task performance, possibly by maintaining attention to food-related cues.
Given the role that sleep plays in modulating plasticity, we hypothesized that increasing sleep would restore memory to canonical memory mutants without specifically rescuing the causal molecular lesion. Sleep was increased using three independent strategies: activating the dorsal fan-shaped body, increasing the expression of Fatty acid binding protein (dFabp), or by administering the GABA-A agonist 4,5,6,7-tetrahydroisoxazolo-[5,4-c]pyridine-3-ol (THIP). Short-term memory (STM) or long-term memory (LTM) was evaluated in rutabaga (rut) and dunce (dnc) mutants using aversive phototaxic suppression and courtship conditioning. Each of the three independent strategies increased sleep and restored memory to rut and dnc mutants. Importantly, inducing sleep also reverses memory defects in a Drosophila model of Alzheimer's disease. Together, these data demonstrate that sleep plays a more fundamental role in modulating behavioral plasticity than previously appreciated and suggest that increasing sleep may benefit patients with certain neurological disorders.
One of sleep’s putative functions is mediation of adaptation to waking experiences. Chronic stress is a common waking experience, however, which specific aspect of sleep is most responsive, and how sleep changes relate to behavioral disturbances and molecular correlates remain unknown. We quantified sleep, physical, endocrine and behavioral variables, as well as the brain and blood transcriptome in mice exposed to nine weeks of unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS). Comparing 46 phenotypical variables revealed that rapid-eye-movement sleep (REMS), corticosterone regulation and coat state were most responsive to UCMS. REMS theta oscillations were enhanced whereas delta oscillations in non-REMS were unaffected. Transcripts affected by UCMS in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, hypothalamus and blood were associated with inflammatory and immune responses. A machine learning approach controlling for unspecific UCMS effects identified transcriptomic predictor sets for REMS parameters which were enriched in 193 pathways, including some involved in stem cells, immune response, apoptosis and survival. Only 3 pathways were enriched in predictor sets for non-REMS. Transcriptomic predictor sets for variation in REMS continuity and theta activity shared many pathways with corticosterone regulation, in particular pathways implicated in apoptosis and survival, including mitochondrial apoptotic machinery. Predictor sets for REMS and anhedonia shared pathways involved in oxidative stress, cell proliferation and apoptosis. These data identify REMS as a core and early element of the response to chronic stress, and identify apoptosis and survival pathways as a putative mechanism by which REMS may mediate the response to stressful waking experiences.
Specific patterns of brain activity during sleep and waking are recorded in the electroencephalogram (EEG). Time-frequency analyses methods have been widely used to analyse the EEG and identified characteristic oscillations for each vigilance state (VS) i.e., wakefulness, rapid-eye movement (REM) and non-rapid-eye movement (NREM) sleep. However, other aspects such as change of patterns associated with brain dynamics may not be captured unless a non-linear-based analysis method is used. In this pilot study, Permutation Lempel-Ziv Complexity (PLZC), a novel symbolic dynamics analysis method, was used to characterise the changes in the EEG in sleep and wakefulness during baseline and recovery from sleep deprivation. The results obtained with PLZC were contrasted with a related non-linear method, Lempel-Ziv complexity (LZC). Both measure the emergence of new patterns. However, LZC is dependent on the absolute amplitude of the EEG, while PLZC is only dependent on the relative amplitude due to symbolisation procedure and thus, more resistant to noise. We showed that PLZC discriminates activated brain states associated with wakefulness and REM sleep, which both displayed higher complexity, compared to NREM sleep. Additionally, significantly lower PLZC values were measured in NREM sleep during the recovery period following SD compared to baseline, suggesting a reduced emergence of new activity patterns in the EEG. These findings were validated using PLZC on surrogate data. By contrast, LZC was merely reflecting changes in the spectral composition of the EEG. Overall, this study implies that PLZC is a robust non-linear complexity measure, which is not dependent on amplitude variations in the signal, and which may be useful to further assess EEG alterations induced by environmental or pharmacological manipulations.
GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid) is the main inhibitory transmitter in the mammalian brain. Recent studies emphasise the importance of extrasynaptic GABAA receptors (i.e., GABAA-Rs located outside the synapse) in controlling the excitability of local neuronal circuits. Extrasynaptic GABAA-Rs mediate a persistent tonic inhibitory transmission and the majority contain the δ-subunit. This novel type of transmission plays a key-role in maintaining the excitability of the thalamo-cortical circuits that generate sleep slow waves. Interestingly, drugs enhancing tonic inhibitory transmission induce slow waves. Traditionally, the regulation of the alternation between sleep and waking was considered to be a global brain process, regulated by the interaction of the circadian clock and a homeostatic process keeping track of how long we have been awake and asleep. However, several studies demonstrated that sleep is also regulated in a local, use-dependent manner. Thus, brain regions that are most activated during wakefulness show more slow waves during subsequent sleep. The aim of this project is to investigate the contribution of the δ-GABAA-Rs-mediated tonic transmission to the local, use-dependent regulation of slow wave sleep. We use an established model of local sleep regulation (i.e., unilateral whisker stimulation inducing changes selectively in the corresponding somatosensory cortex) in a mouse model deficient in the GABAA δ-subunit gene. We first investigate whether whisker stimulation during wakefulness alters the expression levels of δ-GABAA-Rs and other components underlying tonic inhibitory transmission in the controlateral somatosensory cortex and thalamus. We will also assess whether these changes are reversed during subsequent sleep and whether they are correlated with changes in sleep slow waves in the electroencephalogram. In addition, to uncover whether tonic inhibitory transmission contributes to the control of sleep regulation by the circadian clock, we will use an established protocol to separate use-dependent and circadian contributions to sleep regulation. Acknowledgements: Supported by BBSRC (BB/I008926/1)
The high prevalence of sleep disturbance in neurodegenerative and psychiatric conditions is often interpreted as evidence for both sleep’s sensitivity to and causal involvement in brain pathology. Nevertheless, how and which aspects of sleep contribute to brain function remains largely unknown. This review provides a critical evaluation of clinical and animal literature describing sleep and circadian disturbances in two distinct conditions and animal models thereof: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and schizophrenia. Its goal is to identify commonalities and distinctiveness of specific aspects of sleep disturbance and their relationship to symptoms across conditions. Despite limited standardisation, data imply that reductions in sleep continuity and alterations in sleep timing are common to AD and schizophrenia, whereas reductions in REM sleep and sleep spindle activity appear more specific to AD and schizophrenia, respectively. Putative mechanisms underlying these alterations are discussed. A standardised neuroscience based quantification of sleep and disease-independent assessment of symptoms in patients and animal models holds promise for furthering the understanding of mechanistic links between sleep and brain function in health and disease.
Addiction to psychostimulants is a major public health problem with no available treatment. Adenosine A2A receptors (A2A R) co-localize with metabotropic glutamate 5 receptors (mGlu5 R) in the striatum and functionally interact to modulate behaviours induced by addictive substances, such as alcohol. Using genetic and pharmacological antagonism of A2A R in mice, we investigated whether A2A R-mGlu5 R interaction can regulate the locomotor, stereotypic and drug-seeking effect of methamphetamine and cocaine, two drugs that exhibit distinct mechanism of action. Genetic deletion of A2A R, as well as combined administration of sub-threshold doses of the selective A2A R antagonist (SCH 58261, 0.01 mg/kg, i.p.) with the mGlu5 R antagonist, 3-((2-methyl-4-thiazolyl)ethynyl)pyridine (0.01 mg/kg, i.p.), prevented methamphetamine- but not cocaine-induced hyperactivity and stereotypic rearing behaviour. This drug combination also prevented methamphetamine-rewarding effects in a conditioned-place preference paradigm. Moreover, mGlu5 R binding was reduced in the nucleus accumbens core of A2A R knockout (KO) mice supporting an interaction between these receptors in a brain region crucial in mediating addiction processes. Chronic methamphetamine, but not cocaine administration, resulted in a significant increase in striatal mGlu5 R binding in wild-type mice, which was absent in the A2A R KO mice. These data are in support of a critical role of striatal A2A R-mGlu5 R functional interaction in mediating the ambulatory, stereotypic and reinforcing effects of methamphetamine but not cocaine-induced hyperlocomotion or stereotypy. The present study highlights a distinct and selective mechanistic role for this receptor interaction in regulating methamphetamine-induced behaviours and suggests that combined antagonism of A2A R and mGlu5 R may represent a novel therapy for methamphetamine addiction.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a significant public health concern. The incidence continues to rise, and it is set to be over one million in the UK by 2025. The processes involved in the pathogenesis of AD have been shown to overlap with those found in cognitive decline in patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). Currently, the standard treatment for OSA is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. Adherence to treatment can, however, be an issue, especially in patients with dementia. Also, not all patients respond adequately, necessitating the use of additional treatments. Based on the body of data, we here suggest that excessive and prolonged neuronal activity might contribute to genesis and acceleration of both AD and OSA in the absence of appropriately structured sleep. Further, we argue that external factors, including systemic inflammation and obesity, are likely to interfere with immunological processes of the brain, and further promote disease progression. If this hypothesis is proven in future studies, it could have far-reaching clinical translational implications, as well as implications for future treatment strategies in OSA.
The hypocretins (also know as orexins) are two neuropeptides now commonly described as critical components for maintaining and regulating the stability of arousal. Several lines of evidence have raised the hypothesis that hypocretin-producing neurons are part of the circuitries that mediate the hypothalamic response to acute stress. New data indicate that the corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) peptidergic system directly innervates hypocretin-expressing neurons. CRF depolarizes hypocretin neurons, and this effect is blocked by a CRF-R1 antagonist. Furthermore, activation of hypocretinergic neurons by stress is impaired in CRF-R1 knockout mice. These data suggest that CRF-R1 receptor mediates the stress-induced activation of the hypocretinergic system. A significant amount of evidence also indicates that hypocretin cells connect reciprocally to the CRF system. We propose that upon stressor stimuli, CRF activates the hypocretin system, which relays these signals to brain stem nuclei involved in the modulation of arousal as well as to the extended amygdala, a structure involved in the negative motivational state that drives addiction.
Symbolic dynamic analysis (SDA) methods have been applied to biomedical signals and have been proven efficient in characterising differences in the electroencephalogram (EEG) in various conditions (e.g., epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s diseases). In this study, we investigated the use of SDA on EEGs recorded during sleep. Lempel-Ziv complexity (LZC), permutation entropy (PE), and permutation Lempel-Ziv complexity (PLZC), as well as power spectral analysis based on the fast Fourier transform (FFT), were applied to 8-h sleep EEG recordings in healthy men (n=31) and women (n=29), aged 20-74 years. The results of the SDA methods and FFT analysis were compared and the effects of age and sex were investigated. Surrogate data were used to determine whether the findings with SDA methods truly reflected changes in nonlinear dynamics of the EEG and not merely changes in the power spectrum. The surrogate data analysis showed that LZC merely reflected spectral changes in EEG activity, whereas PE and PLZC reflected genuine changes in the nonlinear dynamics of the EEG. All three SDA techniques distinguished the vigilance states (i.e., wakefulness, REM sleep, NREM sleep, and its sub-stages: stage 1, stage 2, and slow wave sleep). Complexity of the sleep EEG increased with ageing. Sex on the other hand did not affect the complexity values assessed with any of these three SDA methods, even though FFT detected sex differences. This study shows that SDA provides additional insights into the dynamics of sleep EEG and how it is affected by ageing.
The main challenge in treating opioid addicts is to maintain abstinence due to the affective consequences associated with withdrawal which may trigger relapse. Emerging evidence suggests a role of the neurohypophysial peptide oxytocin (OT) in the modulation of mood disorders as well as drug addiction. However, its involvement in the emotional consequences of drug abstinence remains unclear. We investigated the effect of 7-day opioid abstinence on the oxytocinergic system and assessed the effect of the OT analogue carbetocin (CBT) on the emotional consequences of opioid abstinence, as well as relapse. Male C57BL/6J mice were treated with a chronic escalating-dose morphine regimen (20-100 mg/kg/day, i.p.). Seven days withdrawal from this administration paradigm induced a decrease of hypothalamic OT levels and a concomitant increase of oxytocin receptor (OTR) binding in the lateral septum and amygdala. Although no physical withdrawal symptoms or alterations in the plasma corticosterone levels were observed after 7 days of abstinence, mice exhibited increased anxiety-like and depressive-like behaviors and impaired sociability. CBT (6.4 mg/kg, i.p.) attenuated the observed negative emotional consequences of opioid withdrawal. Furthermore, in the conditioned place preference paradigm with 10 mg/kg morphine conditioning, CBT (6.4 mg/kg, i.p.) was able to prevent the stress-induced reinstatement to morphine-seeking following extinction. Overall, our results suggest that alterations of the oxytocinergic system contribute to the mechanisms underlying anxiety, depression, and social deficits observed during opioid abstinence. This study also highlights the oxytocinergic system as a target for developing pharmacotherapy for the treatment of emotional impairment associated with abstinence and thereby prevention of relapse.
Orexins have a role in sleep regulation, and orexin receptor antagonists are under development for the treatment of insomnia. We conducted a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, four-period crossover study to investigate the effect of single doses of the dual orexin receptor antagonist SB-649868 (10 or 30 mg) and a positive control zolpidem (10 mg), an allosteric modulator of GABA(A) receptors. Objective and subjective sleep parameters and next-day performance were assessed in 51 healthy male volunteers in a traffic noise model of situational insomnia. Compared with placebo, SB-649868 10 and 30 mg increased total sleep time (TST) by 17 and 31 min (p
Recent studies have led to the discovery of a neuropeptide system that regulates arousal states, The hypocretins (hcrt1 and hcrt2, also called the orexins) are neuropeptides of related sequence derived from the same precursor whose expression is restricted to a few thousand neurons of the lateral hypothalamus. Two G-protein-coupled receptors for the hypocretins have been identified, and these have different distributions within the central nervous system and differential affinities for the two hypocretins. Hypocretin fibers project throughout the brain, including several areas implicated in cardiovascular function and regulation of the sleep-wake cycle. Central administration of synthetic hypocretin-1 affects blood pressure, hormone secretion and locomotor activity, and increases wakefulness while suppressing rapid eye movement sleep. Most human patients with narcolepsy have greatly reduced levels of hypocretin peptides in their cerebral spinal fluid and no or barely detectable hypocretin neurons in their hypothalami, suggestive of autoimmune attack. Development of nonpeptidergic hypocretin antagonists may prove useful in sleep disorders, whereas hypocretin agonists may be used to treat narcolepsy and excessive daytime sleepiness. The hypocretins are also an excellent target for the pharmacological treatment of the deregulated arousal state that characterizes depression or addictive behavior. (C) 2003 Prous Science. All rights reserved.
Caffeine, the most widely used psychoactive compound, is an adenosine receptor antagonist. It promotes wakefulness by blocking adenosine A(2A) receptors (A(2A)Rs) in the brain, but the specific neurons on which caffeine acts to produce arousal have not been identified. Using selective gene deletion strategies based on the Cre/loxP technology in mice and focal RNA interference to silence the expression of A(2A)Rs in rats by local infection with adeno-associated virus carrying short-hairpin RNA, we report that the A(2A)Rs in the shell region of the nucleus accumbens (NAc) are responsible for the effect of caffeine on wakefulness. Caffeine-induced arousal was not affected in rats when A(2A)Rs were focally removed from the NAc core or other A(2A)R-positive areas of the basal ganglia. Our observations suggest that caffeine promotes arousal by activating pathways that traditionally have been associated with motivational and motor responses in the brain.
The process of neurogenesis has been demonstrated to occur throughout life in the subgranular zone (SGZ) of the hippocampal dentate gyrus of several mammals, including humans. The basal rate of adult hippocampal neurogenesis can be altered by lifestyle and environmental factors. In this perspective review, the evidence for sleep as a modulator of adult hippocampal neurogenesis is first summarized. Following this, the impacts of sleep and sleep disturbances on hippocampal-dependent functions, including learning and memory, and depression are critically evaluated. Finally, we postulate that the effects of sleep on hippocampal-dependent functions may possibly be mediated by a change in adult hippocampal neurogenesis. This could provide a route to new treatments for cognitive impairments and psychiatric disorders.