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Cholinergic, Glutamatergic, and GABAergic Neurons of the Pedunculopontine Tegmental Nucleus Have Distinct Effects on Sleep/Wake Behavior in Mice

Kroeger, Daniel; Ferrari, Loris L.; Petit, Gaetan; Mahoney, Carrie E.; Fuller, Patrick M.; Arrigoni, Elda; Scammell, Thomas E.

The pedunculopontine tegmental (PPT) nucleus has long been implicated in the regulation of cortical activity and behavioral states, including rapid eye-movement (REM) sleep. For example, electrical stimulation of the PPT region during sleep leads to rapid awakening, whereas lesions of the PPT in cats reduce REM sleep. Though these effects have been linked with the activity of cholinergic PPT neurons, the PPT also includes intermingled glutamatergic and GABAergic cell populations, and the precise roles of cholinergic, glutamatergic, and GABAergic PPT cell groups in regulating cortical activity and behavioral state remain unknown. Using a chemogenetic approach in three Cre-driver mouse lines, we found that selective activation of glutamatergic PPT neurons induced prolonged cortical activation and behavioral wakefulness, whereas inhibition reduced wakefulness and increased non-REM (NREM) sleep. Activation of cholinergic PPT neurons suppressed lower-frequency electroencephalogram rhythms during NREM sleep. Last, activation of GABAergic PPT neurons slightly reduced REM sleep. These findings reveal that glutamatergic, cholinergic, and GABAergic PPT neurons differentially influence cortical activity and sleep/wake states.

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