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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2000 Feb 29;355(1394):275-80.

Molecular mechanisms of sleep-wake regulation: a role of prostaglandin D2.

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Osaka Bioscience Institute, Suita, Japan.


Prostaglandin (PG) D2 is a major prostanoid in the brains of rats and other mammals, including humans. When PGD synthase (PGDS), the enzyme that produces PGD2 in the brain, was inhibited by the intracerebroventricular infusion of its selective inhibitors, i.e. tetravalent selenium compounds, the amount of sleep decreased both time and dose dependently. The amount of sleep of transgenic mice, in which the human PGDS gene had been incorporated, increased several fold under appropriate conditions. These data indicate that PGDS is a key enzyme in sleep regulation. In situ hybridization, immunoperoxidase staining and direct enzyme activity determination of tissue samples revealed that PGDS is hardly detectable in the brain parenchyma but is localized in the membrane systems surrounding the brain, namely, the arachnoid membrane and choroid plexus, from which it is secreted into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to become beta-trace, a major protein component of the CSF. PGD2 exerts its somnogenic activity by binding to PGD2 receptors exclusively localized at the ventrorostral surface of the basal forebrain. When PGD2 was infused into the subarachnoid space below the rostral basal forebrain, striking expression of proto-oncogene Fos immunoreactivity (FosIR) was observed in the ventrolateral preoptic area (VLPO), a putative sleep centre, concurrent with sleep induction. Fos expression in the VLPO was positively correlated with the preceding amount of sleep and negatively correlated with Fos expression in the tuberomammillary nucleus (TMN), a putative wake centre. These observations suggest that PGD2 may induce sleep via leptomeningeal PGD2 receptors with subsequent activation of the VLPO neurons and downregulation of the wake neurons in the TMN area. Adenosine may be involved in the signal transduction associated with PGD2.

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