Research reportPreoptic area warming inhibits wake-active neurons in the perifornical lateral hypothalamus
Review articleOpen access

AbstractActivation of the preoptic area (POA) warm sensitive neurons is known to promote non-REM (NREM) sleep and inhibit neuronal discharge in arousal-related brain structures. The perifornical area of the lateral hypothalamus (PF/LH) was recently recognized to be an additional important arousal promoting region. We studied the behavior of PF/LH neurons in rats during the normal sleep–wake cycle and in response to local POA warming. Most PF/LH neurons were wake-active, and exhibited low discharge throughout NREM. Seventy four percent of these wake-active neurons exhibited moderate or strong activation in REM sleep compared to NREM sleep. A substantial group (26%) exhibited very low discharge in REM as well as NREM sleep. Fifty two percent of units in the PF/LH area were responsive to POA warming; 90% of responsive neurons exhibited a significant reduction (−26.47±2.16% for 1 °C of POA warming) in their discharge rate. The inhibitory effect of POA warming on PF/LH neurons was not associated with EEG slowing. This study supports the hypothesis that sleep induction by POA warm sensitive neurons is mediated through the inhibition of multiple arousal-related structures.

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