Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Sleep. 2010 Jul;33(7):919-29.

Interleukin-1 inhibits putative cholinergic neurons in vitro and REM sleep when microinjected into the rat laterodorsal tegmental nucleus.

Author information

  • 1Department of Human Physiology, University of Milan Medical School, Milan, Italy.



REM sleep is suppressed during infection, an effect mimicked by the administration of cytokines such as interleukin-1 (IL-1). In spite of this observation, brain sites and neurochemical systems mediating IL-1-induced suppression of REM sleep have not been identified. Cholinergic neurons in the brainstem laterodorsal tegmental nucleus (LDT) are part of the neuronal circuitry responsible for REM sleep generation. Since IL-1 inhibits acetylcholine synthesis and release, the aim of this study was to test the two different, but related hypotheses. We hypothesized that IL-1 inhibits LDT cholinergic neurons, and that, as a result of this inhibition, IL-1 suppresses REM sleep.


To test these hypotheses, the electrophysiological activity of putative cholinergic LDT neurons was recorded in a rat brainstem slice preparation. Interleukin-1 significantly inhibited the firing rate of 76% of recorded putative cholinergic LDT neurons and reduced the amplitude of glutamatergic evoked potentials in 60% of recorded neurons. When IL-1 (1 ng) was microinjected into the LDT of freely behaving rats, REM sleep was reduced by about 50% (from 12.7% +/- 1.5% of recording time [after vehicle] to 6.1% +/- 1.4% following IL-1 administration) during post-injection hours 3-4.


Results of this study support the hypothesis that IL-1 can suppress REM sleep by acting at the level of the LDT nucleus. Furthermore this effect may result from the inhibition of evoked glutamatergic responses and of spontaneous firing of putative cholinergic LDT neurons.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk