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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2011 Sep;111(3):665-72. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00517.2011. Epub 2011 Jun 30.

MicroRNA 132 alters sleep and varies with time in brain.

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Washington State University-Spokane, Health Sciences Bldg. 280E, 412 E Spokane Falls Blvd., Spokane, WA 99202, USA.


MicroRNA (miRNA) levels in brain are altered by sleep deprivation; however, the direct effects of any miRNA on sleep have not heretofore been described. We report herein that intracerebroventricular application of a miRNA-132 mimetic (preMIR-132) decreased duration of non-rapid-eye-movement sleep (NREMS) while simultaneously increasing duration of rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) during the light phase. Further, preMIR-132 decreased electroencephalographic (EEG) slow-wave activity (SWA) during NREMS, an index of sleep intensity. In separate experiments unilateral supracortical application of preMIR-132 ipsilaterally decreased EEG SWA during NREMS but did not alter global sleep duration. In addition, after ventricular or supracortical injections of preMIR-132, the mimetic-induced effects were state specific, occurring only during NREMS. After local supracortical injections of the mimetic, cortical miRNA-132 levels were higher at the time sleep-related EEG effects were manifest. We also report that spontaneous cortical levels of miRNA-132 were lower at the end of the sleep-dominant light period compared with at the end of the dark period in rats. Results suggest that miRNAs play a regulatory role in sleep and provide a new tool for investigating sleep regulation.

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