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Eur J Pharmacol. 1991 Mar 5;194(2-3):189-94.

The dopamine D1 receptor is involved in the regulation of REM sleep in the rat.

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  • 1Research Laboratories, Schering-Plough S.p.A., Milan, Italy.


The dopamine D1 receptor agonist, SKF 38393, and the D1 antagonist, SCH 23390, were studied for their effects on sleep in the rat. Over 6 h, SKF 38393 (0.1-10 mg/kg s.c.) dose dependently reduced the amount of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and enhanced the duration of wakefulness. The drug affected REM at low doses (ED50 = 0.4 mg/kg) at which wakefulness was unchanged and the characteristic grooming behavior was not apparent. REM changes were characterized by a decrease in the number of episodes with no alteration of latency to the first episode. Over a very low dose range (0.003-0.3 mg/kg s.c.), SCH 23390 enhanced the amount of REM by increasing both number and average duration of episodes. There was also a moderate increase of non-REM sleep but the percent change was less marked than that occurring for REM. Given at 0.003 mg/kg, SCH 23390 prevented the REM changes induced by SKF 38393 (0.3-3 mg/kg). It is suggested that D1 receptors are involved in the regulation of the REM sleep process.

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