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Circadian VIPergic neurons of the suprachiasmatic nuclei sculpt the sleep-wake cycle


Abstract

Although the mammalian rest-activity cycle is controlled by a "master clock" in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus, it is unclear how firing of individual SCN neurons gates individual features of daily activity. Here, we demonstrate that a specific transcriptomically identified population of mouse VIP+ SCN neurons is active at the "wrong" time of day-nighttime-when most SCN neurons are silent. Using chemogenetic and optogenetic strategies, we show that these neurons and their cellular clocks are necessary and sufficient to gate and time nighttime sleep but have no effect upon daytime sleep. We propose that mouse nighttime sleep, analogous to the human siesta, is a "hard-wired" property gated by specific neurons of the master clock to favor subsequent alertness prior to dawn (a circadian "wake maintenance zone"). Thus, the SCN is not simply a 24-h metronome: specific populations sculpt critical features of the sleep-wake cycle.

Abstract

Although the mammalian rest-activity cycle is controlled by a "master clock" in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus, it is unclear how firing of individual SCN neurons gates individual features of daily activity. Here, we demonstrate that a specific transcriptomically identified population of mouse VIP+ SCN neurons is active at the "wrong" time of day-nighttime-when most SCN neurons are silent. Using chemogenetic and optogenetic strategies, we show that these neurons and their cellular clocks are necessary and sufficient to gate and time nighttime sleep but have no effect upon daytime sleep. We propose that mouse nighttime sleep, analogous to the human siesta, is a "hard-wired" property gated by specific neurons of the master clock to favor subsequent alertness prior to dawn (a circadian "wake maintenance zone"). Thus, the SCN is not simply a 24-h metronome: specific populations sculpt critical features of the sleep-wake cycle.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology

04 Faculty of Medicine > Brain Research Institute
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > General Neuroscience
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Neuroscience
Language:English
Date:1 November 2020
Deposited On:15 Oct 2020 15:24
Last Modified:23 Jun 2024 01:43
Publisher:Cell Press (Elsevier)
ISSN:0896-6273
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2020.08.001
PubMed ID:32916091