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Neuroreport. 2014 Dec 17;25(18):1437-41. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0000000000000287.

2-Arachidonoylglycerol into the lateral hypothalamus improves reduced sleep in adult rats subjected to maternal separation.

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aLaboratory of Cannabinoids, Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, National Autonomus University of México, D.F., México bLaboratory of Cognitive Neurogenomics, Coordination of Psychophysiology, School of Psychology, National Autonomus University of México D.F., México.


We have previously reported that maternal separation (MS) for 3 h daily during the first two postnatal weeks increases wakefulness, whereas it reduces sleep in rats. Oleamide, an agonist of the cannabinoid receptor type 1, increases sleep in MS rats to such a level that we cannot differentiate their sleep patterns from those of their non-MS (NMS) siblings. However, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), an endocannabinoid, infused into the lateral hypothalamus of NMS rats at the beginning of the dark phase of the cycle increases rapid eye movement sleep and the expression of c-Fos on the rapid eye movement sleep promoting melanin-concentrating hormone neurons. We recorded the sleep-wake cycle of adult rats subjected to MS for 3 h daily from postnatal days 2 to 16, as well as in their NMS siblings. Besides the electrodes for recording the sleep-wake cycle, a couple of cannulae aimed bilaterally to the lateral hypothalamus were implanted to infuse 2-AG. We found that administration of 2-AG into the lateral hypothalamus of MS rats at the beginning of the light phase of the cycle restores sleep, whereas sleep and wakefulness of NMS rats under 2-AG infusion do not show any significant change.

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