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Brain Res. 2006 Sep 7;1108(1):133-46. Epub 2006 Jul 21.

Sleep in spontaneous dwarf rats.

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Department of Physiology, University of Szeged, A. Szent-Györgyi Medical Center, 6720 Szeged, Hungary.


Spontaneous dwarf rats (SDRs) display growth hormone (GH) deficiency due to a mutation in the GH gene. This study investigated sleep in SDRs and their somatotropic axis and compared to Sprague-Dawley rats. SDRs had almost undetectable levels of plasma GH. Hypothalamic GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) mRNA was increased, whereas GHRH-receptor (GHRH-R) and somatostatin mRNAs were decreased in SDRs. Hypothalamic GHRH and somatostatin peptide content decreased in SDRs. Quantitative immunohistochemistry for GHRH and GHRH-R corroborated and extended these findings. In the arcuate nucleus, the number of GHRH-positive cells was significantly higher, whereas GHRH-R-positive perikarya were diminished in SDRs. Cortical GHRH and GHRH-R measurements showed similar expression characteristics as those found in the hypothalamus. SDRs had less rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) and more non-REMS (NREMS) than the control rats during the light period. The electroencephalogram (EEG) delta and theta power decreased during NREMS in the SDRs. After 4-h of sleep deprivation, SDRs had a significantly reduced REMS rebound compared to the controls, whereas NREMS rebound was normal in SDRs. The enhancement in delta power was significantly less than in the control group during recovery sleep. Intracerebroventricular (icv) administration of GHRH promoted NREMS in both strains of rats; however, increased REMS and EEG delta activity was observed only in control rats. Icv injection of insulin-like growth factor 1 increased NREMS in control rats, but not in the SDRs. These results support the ideas that GHRH is involved in NREMS regulation and that GH is involved in the regulation of REMS and in EEG slow wave activity regulation during NREMS.

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