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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Jun 23;95(13):7754-9.

Activation of ventrolateral preoptic neurons by the somnogen prostaglandin D2.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) is an extensively studied sleep-promoting substance, but the neuroanatomical basis of PGD2-induced sleep is only partially understood. To determine potential regions involved in this response, we used Fos immunohistochemistry to identify neurons activated by infusion of PGD2 into the subarachnoid space below the rostral basal forebrain. PGD2 increased nonrapid eye movement sleep and induced striking expression of Fos in the ventrolateral preoptic area (VLPO), a cluster of neurons that may promote sleep by inhibiting the tuberomammillary nucleus, the source of the ascending histaminergic arousal system. Fos expression in the VLPO was positively correlated with the preceding amount of sleep and negatively correlated with Fos expression in the tuberomammillary nucleus. PGD2 also increased Fos immunoreactivity in the basal leptomeninges and several regions implicated in autonomic regulation. These observations suggest that PGD2 may induce sleep via leptomeningeal PGD2 receptors with subsequent activation of the VLPO.

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