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Glia. 2013 May;61(5):724-31. doi: 10.1002/glia.22465. Epub 2013 Feb 4.

Astrocyte-derived adenosine modulates increased sleep pressure during inflammatory response.

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Laboratory of Nutrition and Integrative Neurobiology, University of Bordeaux, UMR 1286, Bordeaux, France.


Activation of the immune system elicits several behavioral changes collectively called sickness. Among the behavioral changes, systemic infections induce an increase in time spent in nonrapid-eye-movement (NREM) sleep and an increase of slow wave activity (or "sleep pressure"). Using an inducible, astrocyte-specific transgenic dominant negative SNARE (dnSNARE) mouse line we recently demonstrated that gliotransmission plays an important role in sleep homeostasis through an adenosine receptor 1 (A1R)-sensitive pathway. It has been hypothesized that systemic infection, mimicked by peripheral administration of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), increases sleeping behavior in part through upregulation of central adenosine levels. Moreover, as a source of immunologically relevant factors, astrocytes play a pivotal role in the central nervous system immune and inflammatory responses. However, little is known about the role of astrocytes in the CNS response to a peripheral immune challenge. We hypothesize that LPS impacts sleep homeostasis through the modulation of astrocyte-derived adenosine accumulation. We therefore used dnSNARE mice to determine whether astrocytes contribute to the increased sleep pressure under immune challenge and whether this is a result of changes in adenosine signaling. We demonstrate that dnSNARE-mediated gliotransmission is required for the ability of LPS to elevate sleep pressure as measured by the power of slow wave activity during NREM sleep. Moreover, in agreement with a role of astrocyte-derived adenosine in modulating sleep homeostasis, we find that intracerebroventricular infusion of the A1R antagonist 8-cyclopentyl-1,3-dimethylxanthine (CPT) mimics this dnSNARE phenotype. Taken together, our data demonstrate that astrocytic adenosine acting through A1 receptors contributes to the modulation of sleep pressure by LPS.

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