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Open Access Altered Sleep Patterns and Physiologic Characteristics in Spontaneous Dwarf Rats

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Spontaneous dwarf rats are a useful experimental model for studying various biologic events associated with pituitary dwarfism. Dwarf rats occurred serendipitously in our colony of Wistar rats during experimental breeding. This study aimed to describe the sleep pattern and physiologic characteristics of these rats compared with normal-sized adult rats. Because growth hormone can attenuate the upregulation of ceruloplasmin expression caused by acute inflammation, we also assessed the basal levels of serum ceruloplasmin in these animals. At 90 d of age, body weight and length were significantly lower in dwarf rats relative to normal rats. Dwarves had lower concentrations of serum testosterone and growth hormone, but progesterone was unchanged. Corticosterone levels did not differ between groups. During the light period, the percentage of sleep time recorded and duration of slow-wave sleep did not differ between groups. However, compared with controls, dwarf rats had marked fragmentation of sleep and less paradoxical sleep. During the dark phase, sleep patterns in dwarf rats were within the normal range. Immunoblotting data showed that the levels of ceruloplasmin in serum were lower in dwarf rats. Our findings provide insight into pathologic processes related to growth hormone deficiency.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychobiology, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, Brazil. [email protected] 2: Department of Psychobiology, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, Brazil

Publication date: 2009-08-01

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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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