Regulation of sleep homeostasis mediator adenosine by basal forebrain glutamatergic neurons

Thursday, September 3, 2020 - 13:10 in Biology & Nature

Sleep and wakefulness are homeostatically regulated by a variety of factors, including adenosine. However, how neural activity underlying the sleep-wake cycle controls adenosine release in the brain remains unclear. Using a newly developed genetically encoded adenosine sensor, we found an activity-dependent rapid increase in the concentration of extracellular adenosine in mouse basal forebrain (BF), a critical region controlling sleep and wakefulness. Although the activity of both BF cholinergic and glutamatergic neurons correlated with changes in the concentration of adenosine, optogenetic activation of these neurons at physiological firing frequencies showed that glutamatergic neurons contributed much more to the adenosine increase. Mice with selective ablation of BF glutamatergic neurons exhibited a reduced adenosine increase and impaired sleep homeostasis regulation. Thus, cell type–specific neural activity in the BF dynamically controls sleep homeostasis.

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