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Vigilance States: Central Neural Pathways, Neurotransmitters and Neurohormones

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Background and Objective: The sleep-wake cycle is characterized by a circadian rhythm involving neurotransmitters and neurohormones that are released from brainstem nuclei and hypothalamus. The aim of this review is to analyze the role played by central neural pathways, neurotransmitters and neurohormones in the regulation of vigilance states.

Method: We analyzed the literature identifying relevant articles dealing with central neural pathways, neurotransmitters and neurohormones involved in the control of wakefulness and sleep.

Results: The reticular activating system is the key center in the control of the states of wakefulness and sleep via alertness and hypnogenic centers. Neurotransmitters and neurohormones interplay during the dark-light cycle in order to maintain a normal plasmatic concentration of ions, proteins and peripheral hormones, and behavioral state control.

Conclusion: An updated description of pathways, neurotransmitters and neurohormones involved in the regulation of vigilance states has been depicted.
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Keywords: EEG; Vigilance states; locus coeruleus; neurohormones; neurotransmitters; raphe nuclei; reticular activating system; sleep-wake cycle; suprachiasmatic nucleus

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: January 1, 2019

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  • This journal is devoted to timely reviews of experimental and clinical studies in the field of endocrine, metabolic, and immune disorders. Specific emphasis is placed on humoral and cellular targets for natural, synthetic, and genetically engineered drugs that enhance or impair endocrine, metabolic, and immune parameters and functions. Topics related to the neuroendocrine-immune axis are given special emphasis in view of the growing interest in stress-related, inflammatory, autoimmune, and degenerative disorders.
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