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Free Content The effect of REM sleep deprivation on somatostatin and growth hormone‐releasing hormone gene expression in the rat hypothalamus

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Growth hormone‐releasing hormone (GHRH) and somatostatin (SRIF) have been implicated as sleep factors. We studied how the hypothalamic SRIF/GHRH system is affected by possible feedback regulation resulting from REM sleep deprivation at the level of gene expression and how this is reflected in serum growth hormone (GH) content. Male rats were deprived of REM sleep on small platforms for 24 or 72 h, and one group was allowed a rebound sleep of 24 h after 72 h deprivation. Animals maintained on large platforms and animals taken directly from their home cages served as controls. In situ hybridization was made from 20 μm cryosections through the periventricular, paraventricular and arcuate hypothalamic nuclei using oligonucleotide probes for GHRH and SRIF. The number of cells expressing SRIF or GHRH was counted. Serum GH was measured by means of radioimmunoassay in similarly treated rats. Fewer cells expressed GHRH in the paraventricular nucleus of animals subjected to 24 and 72 h of REM sleep deprivation than in home control animals. A similar trend was observed in the arcuate nucleus. The number of cells expressing SRIF was elevated in the arcuate nucleus after 24 h of REM sleep deprivation but not after 72 h. In the periventricular nucleus the number of cells expressing SRIF was higher after 72 h of deprivation when compared to expression in animals maintained on large platforms. Serum GH levels were decreased in animals maintained on either small or large platforms. It is concluded that the expression of the SRIF and GHRH genes is modulated by REM sleep deprivation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Physiology, Institute of Biomedicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland 2: Department of Neurobiology & Physiology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA

Publication date: June 1, 1996

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