Brain prolactin is involved in stress-induced REM sleep rebound

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Machado, Ricardo Borges
Rocha, Murilo Ramos [UNIFESP]
Suchecki, Deborah [UNIFESP]
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REM sleep rebound is a common behavioural response to some stressors and represents an adaptive coping strategy. Animals submitted to multiple, intermittent, footshock stress (FS) sessions during 96 h of REM sleep deprivation (REMSD) display increased REM sleep rebound (when compared to the only REMSD ones, without FS), which is correlated to high plasma prolactin levels. To investigate whether brain prolactin plays a role in stress-induced REM sleep rebound two experiments were carried out. In experiment 1, rats were either not sleep-deprived (NSD) or submitted to 96 h of REMSD associated or not to FS and brains were evaluated for PRL immunoreactivity (PRL-ir) and determination of PRL concentrations in the lateral hypothalamus and dorsal raphe nucleus. In experiment 2, rats were implanted with cannulas in the dorsal raphe nucleus for prolactin infusion and were sleep-recorded. REMSD associated with FS increased PRL-ir and content in the lateral hypothalamus and all manipulations increased prolactin content in the dorsal raphe nucleus compared to the NSD group. Prolactin infusion in the dorsal raphe nucleus increased the time and length of REM sleep episodes 3 h after the infusion until the end of the light phase of the day cycle. Based on these results we concluded that brain prolactin is a major mediator of stress-induced REMS. The effect of PRL infusion in the dorsal raphe nucleus is discussed in light of the existence of a bidirectional relationship between this hormone and serotonin as regulators of stress induced REM sleep rebound. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Hormones And Behavior. San Diego, v. 89, p. 38-47, 2017.