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Neuroscience. 2009 Sep 29;163(1):397-414. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.06.035. Epub 2009 Jun 18.

Identification of cholinergic and non-cholinergic neurons in the pons expressing phosphorylated cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element-binding protein as a function of rapid eye movement sleep.

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  • 1Laboratory of Sleep and Cognitive Neuroscience, Boston University School of Medicine, 85 East Newton Street, Suite M-902, Boston, MA 02118, USA. subimal@bu.edu

Abstract

Recent studies have shown that in the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPT), increased neuronal activity and kainate receptor-mediated activation of intracellular protein kinase A (PKA) are important physiological and molecular steps for the generation of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. In the present study performed on rats, phosphorylated cyclic AMP response element-binding protein (pCREB) immunostaining was used as a marker for increased intracellular PKA activation and as a reflection of increased neuronal activity. To identify whether activated cells were either cholinergic or noncholinergic, the PPT and laterodorsal tegmental nucleus (LDT) cells were immunostained for choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) in combination with pCREB or c-Fos. The results demonstrated that during high rapid eye movement sleep (HR, approximately 27%), significantly higher numbers of cells expressed pCREB and c-Fos in the PPT, of which 95% of pCREB-expressing cells were ChAT-positive. With HR, the numbers of pCREB-positive cells were also significantly higher in the medial pontine reticular formation (mPRF), pontine reticular nucleus oral (PnO), and dorsal subcoeruleus nucleus (SubCD) but very few in the locus coeruleus (LC) and dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN). Conversely, with low rapid eye movement sleep (LR, approximately 2%), the numbers of pCREB expressing cells were very few in the PPT, mPRF, PnO, and SubCD but significantly higher in the LC and DRN. The results of regression analyses revealed significant positive relationships between the total percentages of REM sleep and numbers of ChAT+/pCREB+ (Rsqr=0.98) cells in the PPT and pCREB+ cells in the mPRF (Rsqr=0.88), PnO (Rsqr=0.87), and SubCD (Rsqr=0.84); whereas significantly negative relationships were associated with the pCREB+ cells in the LC (Rsqr=0.70) and DRN (Rsqr=0.60). These results provide evidence supporting the hypothesis that during REM sleep, the PPT cholinergic neurons are active, whereas the LC and DRN neurons are inactive. More importantly, the regression analysis indicated that pCREB activation in approximately 98% of PPT cholinergic neurons, was caused by REM sleep. Moreover the results indicate that during REM sleep, PPT intracellular PKA activation and a transcriptional cascade involving pCREB occur exclusively in the cholinergic neurons.

PMID:
19540313
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2737742
Free PMC Article
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