GABAA receptors implicated in REM sleep control express a benzodiazepine binding site

Tin Quang Nguyen, Chang Lin Liang, Gerald A. Marks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

It has been reported that non-subtype-selective GABAA receptor antagonists injected into the nucleus pontis oralis (PnO) of rats induced long-lasting increases in REM sleep. Characteristics of these REM sleep increases were identical to those resulting from injection of muscarinic cholinergic agonists. Both actions were blocked by the muscarinic antagonist, atropine. Microdialysis of GABAA receptor antagonists into the PnO resulted in increased acetylcholine levels. These findings were consistent with GABAA receptor antagonists disinhibiting acetylcholine release in the PnO to result in an acetylcholine-mediated REM sleep induction. Direct evidence has been lacking for localization in the PnO of the specific GABAA receptor-subtypes mediating the REM sleep effects. Here, we demonstrated a dose-related, long-lasting increase in REM sleep following injection (60 nl) in the PnO of the inverse benzodiazepine agonist, methyl-6,7-dimethoxy-4-ethyl- β-carboline (DMCM, 10-2 M). REM sleep increases were greater and more consistently produced than with the non-selective antagonist gabazine, and both were blocked by atropine. Fluorescence immunohistochemistry and laser scanning confocal microscopy, colocalized in PnO vesicular acetylcholine transporter, a presynaptic marker of cholinergic boutons, with the γ2 subunit of the GABAA receptor. These data provide support for the direct action of GABA on mechanisms of acetylcholine release in the PnO. The presence of the γ2 subunit at this locus and the REM sleep induction by DMCM are consistent with binding of benzodiazepines by a GABAA receptor-subtype in control of REM sleep.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-140
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Research
Volume1527
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 21 2013

Keywords

  • DMCM
  • GABA receptor γ2 subunit
  • Gabazine
  • Muscarinic receptor
  • Nucleus pontis oralis
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

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