Locomotor-dependent and -independent components to hypocretin-1 (orexin A) regulation in sleep–wake consolidating monkeys

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The hypocretin system is involved in the integration of hypothalamic functions with sleep and wake. Hypocretin-1 release peaks at the end of the active period in both diurnal and nocturnal species. A role for hypocretin-1 in the generation of locomotor activity has been suggested by electrophysiological and neurochemical studies in rodents, dogs and cats. These species, however, do not consolidate wake into a single, daily bout and manipulations of locomotion elicit changes in wakefulness, making it difficult to parse the relative contribution of these two factors. We have examined the relationship between locomotion and hypocretin-1 in a wake-consolidating animal, the squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus). Strikingly, we found that restricting locomotion to 17% of usual activity had no significant effect on the normal diurnal rise in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) hypocretin-1, despite an associated increase in CSF cortisol. Increasing locomotion to greater than baseline activity did not significantly increase CSF hypocretin-1 concentrations, but did appear to have a positive modulatory effect on CSF hypocretin-1. In this wake-consolidating animal, locomotion is not necessary for CSF hypocretin-1 to increase throughout the daytime, but high levels of locomotion are likely to provide a small positive feedback onto the hypocretin system.

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