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      Immunoneutralization of melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) in the dorsal raphe nucleus: effects on sleep and wakefulness.

      Brain Research
      Animals, Hypothalamic Hormones, metabolism, pharmacology, Male, Melanins, Microinjections, Pituitary Hormones, Raphe Nuclei, drug effects, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Sleep, physiology, Sleep, REM, Wakefulness

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          Hypothalamic neurons that utilize melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) as a neuromodulator exert a positive control over energy homeostasis, inducing feeding and decreasing metabolism. Recent studies have shown also that this system plays a role in the generation and/or maintenance of sleep. MCHergic neurons project to the serotonergic dorsal raphe nucleus (DR), a neuroanatomical structure involved in several functions during wakefulness (W), and in the regulation of rapid-eye movements (REM) sleep. Recently, we determined the effect of MCH microinjected into the DR on sleep variables in the rat. MCH produced a marked increment of REM sleep, whereas slow wave sleep (SWS) showed only a moderate increase. In the present study, we analyze the effect of immunoneutralization of MCH in the DR on sleep and W in the rat. Compared to the control solution, microinjections of anti-MCH antibodies (1/100 solution in 0.2 μl) induced a significant increase in REM sleep latency (31.2±7.1 vs. 84.2±24.8 min, p<0.05) and a decrease of REM sleep time (37.8±5.4 vs. 17.8±2.9 min, p<0.05) that was related to the reduction in the number of REM sleep episodes. In addition, there was an increase of total W time (49.8±4.6 vs. 72.0±5.7 min, p<0.01). Light sleep and SWS remained unchanged. The intra-DR administration of a more diluted solution of anti-MCH antibodies (1/500) or rabbit pre-immune serum did not modify neither W nor REM sleep variables. Our findings strongly suggest that MCH released in the DR facilitates the occurrence of REM sleep. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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