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Papers: 29 Jun 2024 - 5 Jul 2024

2024 Jun 29



Revealing a role of brainstem monoaminergic nuclei on the pronociceptive effect of sleep restriction.


Sardi NF, Pescador AC, Torres-Chavez KE, Fischer L


Sleep disturbances and persistent pain conditions are public health challenges worldwide. Although it is well-known that sleep deficit increases pain sensitivity, the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. We have recently demonstrated the involvement of nucleus accumbens (NAc) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in the pronociceptive effect of sleep restriction. In this study, we found that sleep restriction increases c-Fos expression in NAc and ACC, suggesting hyperactivation of these regions during prolonged wakefulness in male Wistar rats. Blocking adenosine A receptors in the NAc or GABA receptors in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN), or locus coeruleus (LC) effectively mitigated the pronociceptive effect of sleep restriction. In contrast, the blockade of GABA receptors in each of these nuclei only transiently reduced carrageenan-induced hyperalgesia. Pharmacological activation of dopamine D, serotonin 5-HT and noradrenaline alpha-2 receptors within the ACC also prevented the pronociceptive effect of sleep restriction. While pharmacological inhibition of these same monoaminergic receptors in the ACC restored the pronociceptive effect which had been prevented by the GABAergic disinhibition of the of the VTA, DRN or LC. Overall, these findings suggest that the pronociceptive effect of sleep restriction relies on increased adenosinergic activity on NAc, heightened GABAergic activity in VTA, DRN, and LC, and reduced inhibitory monoaminergic activity on ACC. These findings advance our understanding of the interplay between sleep and pain, shedding light on potential NAc-brainstem-ACC mechanisms that could mediate increased pain sensitivity under conditions of sleep impairment.