UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurobiology; Anaclet Lab

Publication Date


Document Type



Behavioral Neurobiology


Recent studies have identified an especially important role for basal forebrain GABAergic (BF(VGAT)) neurons in the regulation of behavioral waking and fast cortical rhythms associated with cognition. However, BF(VGAT) neurons comprise several neurochemically and anatomically distinct subpopulations, including parvalbumin-containing BF(VGAT) neurons and somatostatin-containing BF(VGAT) neurons (BF(SOM) neurons), and it was recently reported that optogenetic activation of BF(SOM) neurons increases the probability of a wakefulness to non-rapid-eye movement (NREM) sleep transition when stimulated during the rest period of the animal. This finding was unexpected given that most BF(SOM) neurons are not NREM sleep active and that central administration of the synthetic somatostatin analog, octreotide, suppresses NREM sleep or increases REM sleep. Here we used a combination of genetically driven chemogenetic and optogenetic activation, chemogenetic inhibition, and ablation approaches to further explore the in vivo role of BF(SOM) neurons in arousal control. Our findings indicate that acute activation or inhibition of BF(SOM) neurons is neither wakefulness nor NREM sleep promoting and is without significant effect on the EEG, and that chronic loss of these neurons is without effect on total 24 h sleep amounts, although a small but significant increase in waking was observed in the lesioned mice during the early active period. Our in vitro cell recordings further reveal electrophysiological heterogeneity in BF(SOM) neurons, specifically suggesting at least two distinct subpopulations. Together, our data support the more nuanced view that BF(SOM) neurons are electrically heterogeneous and are not NREM sleep or wake promoting per se, but may exert, in particular during the early active period, a modest inhibitory influence on arousal circuitry.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The cellular basal forebrain (BF) is a highly complex area of the brain that is implicated in a wide range of higher-level neurobiological processes, including regulating and maintaining normal levels of electrocortical and behavioral arousal. The respective in vivo roles of BF cell populations and their neurotransmitter systems in the regulation of electrocortical and behavioral arousal remains incompletely understood. Here we seek to define the neurobiological contribution of GABAergic somatostatin-containing BF neurons to arousal control. Understanding the respective contribution of BF cell populations to arousal control may provide critical insight into the pathogenesis of a host of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, and the cognitive impairments of normal aging.

Rights and Permissions

Copyright © 2018 the authors. Publisher PDF posted after 6 months as allowed by the publisher's author rights policy at

DOI of Published Version



J Neurosci. 2018 May 30;38(22):5168-5181. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2955-17.2018. Epub 2018 May 7. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID