Medullary control of REM sleep and pontine waves

Professor Franz Weber, PhD
University of Pennsylvania
Friday, October 28, 2022 - 11:00am
Ramsay Wright Building, Room 432
Invited Speaker Seminar
Rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep is a distinct behavioral state associated with vivid dreaming and memory processing. Phasic bursts of electrical activity, measurable as spike-like pontine (P)-waves, are a hallmark of REM sleep implicated in memory consolidation. However, the brainstem circuits regulating P-waves, and their interactions with circuits generating REM sleep, remain largely unknown. Here, we show that an excitatory population of dorsomedial medulla (dmM) neurons expressing corticotropin-releasing-hormone (CRH) regulates both REM sleep and P-waves. Calcium imaging showed that dmM CRH neurons are selectively activated during REM sleep and recruited during P-waves, and opto- and chemogenetic experiments revealed that this population promotes REM sleep. Chemogenetic manipulation also induced prolonged changes in P-wave frequency, while brief optogenetic activation reliably triggered P-waves along with transiently accelerated theta oscillations in the electroencephalogram (EEG). Together, these findings anatomically and functionally delineate a common medullary hub for the regulation of both REM sleep and P-waves.
Professor John Peever
Dept of Cell and Systems Biology
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