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Free Content Sleep deprivation reduces the citalopram –induced inhibition of serotoninergic neuronal firing in the nucleus raphe dorsalis of the rat

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Sleep deprivation (SD) for one night induces mood improvement in depressed patients. However, relapse often occurs on the day after deprivation subsequently to a sleep episode. In light of the possible involvement of central serotonin (5–hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) neurotransmission in both depression and sleep mechanisms, we presently investigated, in the rat, the effects of SD and recovery sleep on the electrophysiological response of 5–HT neurons in the nucleus raphe dorsalis (NRD) to an acute challenge with the 5–HT reuptake blocker citalopram. In all rats, citalopram induced a dose–dependent inhibition of the firing of NRD neurons recorded under chloral hydrate anaesthesia. After SD, achieved by placing rats in a slowly rotating cylinder for 24 h, the inhibitory action of citalopram was significantly reduced (with a concomitant 53% increase in its ED5, value). After a recovery period of 4 h, a normal susceptibility of the firing to citalopram was restored. The decreased sensitivity of 5-HT neuronal firing to the inhibitory effect of citalopram after SD probably results in an enhancement of 5-HT neurotransmission. Such an adaptive phenomenon (similar to that reported after chronic antidepressant treatment), and its normalization after recovery sleep, parallel the mood improvement effect of SD and the subsequent relapse observed in depressed patients. These data suggest that the associated changes in 5–HT autocontrol of the firing of NRD serotoninergic neurons are relevant to the antidepressant action of SD.
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Keywords: citalopram; depression; dorsal raphe nucleus; neuronal firing; serotonin; sleep deprivation

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: INSERM U288, CHU Pitiæ–Salpütrére, 91 Boulevard de I'Hôpital, Paris, France

Publication date: 1996-12-01

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