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Brain Res. 1995 Sep 18;692(1-2):86-92.

Apamin, a selective SK potassium channel blocker, suppresses REM sleep without a compensatory rebound.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, CA 94305, USA.


To determine the role of neuronal potassium conductance in rapid-eye-movement (REM)-sleep homeostasis, we have administered small doses of apamin (2-5 ng), a selective blocker of the calcium-dependent SK potassium channel, injected into the lateral ventricle in rats, and characterized the resultant effects on REM-sleep expression. Apamin produces a dose-dependent reduction in REM-sleep expression without an increase in the frequency of attempts to enter REM sleep, suggesting that accumulation of REM-sleep propensity is suppressed. The vast majority (84-95%) of lost REM sleep is not recovered 40 h after apamin administration. These findings suggest that accumulation of REM-sleep propensity is linked to the increased neuronal potassium conductance in nonREM sleep.

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