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Open Access Sleep, Temperature, Activity, and Prolactin Phenotypes of Genetically Epilepsy-prone Rats

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Sleep–wake disturbances are common in epilepsy, yet the potential adverse effect of seizures on sleep is not well characterized. Genetically epilepsy-prone rats (GEPRs) are a well-studied model of genetic susceptibility to audiogenic seizures. To assess their suitability for investigating relationships between seizures and disordered sleep, we characterized the sleep, activity, and temperature patterns of 2 GEPR strains (designated 3 and 9) and Sprague–Dawley (SD) rats in the basal state, after forced wakefulness, and after exposure to sound-induced seizures at light onset and dark onset. Because of observed differences in rapid-eye-movement sleep (REMS), we also assessed serum levels of prolactin, which is implicated in REMS regulation. The data reveal that under basal conditions, the GEPR3 strain shows less SWS and REMS, higher core temperatures, and higher serum prolactin concentrations than do GEPR9 and SD strains. All 3 strains respond similarly to enforced sleep loss. Seizures induced at light onset delay the onset of SWS in both GEPR strains. Seizures induced at dark onset do not significantly alter sleep. Genotype assessment indicates that although both GEPR strains are inbred (that is, homozygous at 107 genetic markers), they differ from each other at 74 of 107 loci. Differences in basal sleep, temperature, and prolactin between GEPR3 and GEPR9 strains suggest different homeostatic regulation of these functions. Our detection of concurrent alterations in sleep, temperature, and prolactin in these 2 GEPR strains implicates the hypothalamus as a likely site for anatomic or physiologic variation in the control of these homeostatic processes.

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Publication date: October 1, 2006

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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