UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurobiology; Anaclet Lab; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Neuroscience Program

Publication Date


Document Type



Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins | Musculoskeletal, Neural, and Ocular Physiology | Nervous System | Neuroscience and Neurobiology


Parafacial zone (PZ) GABAergic neurons play a major role in slow-wave-sleep (SWS), also called non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. The PZ also contains glutamatergic neurons expressing the vesicular transporter for glutamate, isoform 2 (Vglut2). We hypothesized that PZ Vglut2-expressing (PZ(Vglut2)) neurons are also involved in sleep control, playing a synergistic role with PZ GABAergic neurons. To test this hypothesis, we specifically activated PZ(Vglut2) neurons using the excitatory chemogenetic receptor hM3Dq. Anatomical inspection of the injection sites revealed hM3Dq transfection in PZ, parabrachial nucleus (PB), sublaterodorsal nucleus (SLD) or various combinations of these three brain areas. Consistent with the known wake- and REM sleep-promoting role of PB and SLD, respectively, chemogenetic activation of PB(Vglut2) or SLD(Vglut2) resulted in wake or REM sleep enhancement. Chemogenetic activation of PZ(Vglut2) neurons did not affect sleep-wake phenotype during the mouse active period but increased wakefulness and REM sleep, similar to PB(Vglut2) and SLD(Vglut2) activation, during the rest period. To definitively confirm the role of PZ(Vglut2) neurons, we used a specific marker for PZ(Vglut2) neurons, Phox2B. Chemogenetic activation of PZ(Phox2B) neurons did not affect sleep-wake phenotype, indicating that PZ glutamatergic neurons are not sufficient to affect sleep-wake cycle. These results indicate that PZ glutamatergic neurons are not involved in sleep-wake control.


DREADDs, brainstem, neuronal circuitry, parabrachial nucleus, parafacial zone, sleep-wake control, sublaterodorsal nucleus

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Copyright © 2019 Erickson, Ferrari, Gompf and Anaclet. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

DOI of Published Version



Front Neurosci. 2019 Jul 30;13:755. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.00755. eCollection 2019. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Frontiers in neuroscience

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.