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Brain Res. 1989 Feb 13;479(2):225-40.

A critical role of the posterior hypothalamus in the mechanisms of wakefulness determined by microinjection of muscimol in freely moving cats.

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Département de Médecine Expérimentale, INSERM U 52, CNRS UA 1195, Université Claude Bernard, Lyon, France.


In order to determine critical sites within the hypothalamus responsible for the induction and maintenance of wakefulness (W), we performed microinjections of muscimol, a potent gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) agonist, in various lateral hypothalamic regions of freely moving cats. We found that bilateral injections of a small amount of muscimol (0.1-1.0 micrograms/0.5 microliters) in the preoptic and anterior hypothalamus and rostral mesencephalic tegmentum resulted in increased vigilance and insomnia. In contrast, microinjections of muscimol in the middle and anterior parts of the posterior hypothalamus induced long-lasting behavioral and electroencephalographic signs of sleep with short latency. The hypersomnia was characterized by a significant increase in both light and deep slow wave sleep (SWS), and a nearly complete suppression of paradoxical sleep (PS). Animals with muscimol microinjections in the ventrolateral part of the posterior hypothalamus, however, exhibited increased SWS followed by a significant increase in PS. When injected into the posterior hypothalamus of insomniac cats pretreated with p-chlorophenylalanine (PCPA), muscimol induced not only SWS but also PS with short latency. The present data thus support the hypotheses that the posterior hypothalamus plays a critical role in the mechanisms of W and that sleep might result from functional blockade of the hypothalamic waking center.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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