Hypocretinergic and cholinergic contributions to sleep-wake disturbances in a mouse model of traumatic brain injury. Journal Article uri icon



  • Disorders of sleep and wakefulness occur in the majority of individuals who have experienced traumatic brain injury (TBI), with increased sleep need and excessive daytime sleepiness often reported. Behavioral and pharmacological therapies have limited efficacy, in part, because the etiology of post-TBI sleep disturbances is not well understood. Severity of injuries resulting from head trauma in humans is highly variable, and as a consequence so are their sequelae. Here, we use a controlled laboratory model to investigate the effects of TBI on sleep-wake behavior and on candidate neurotransmitter systems as potential mediators. We focus on hypocretin and melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH), hypothalamic neuropeptides important for regulating sleep and wakefulness, and two potential downstream effectors of hypocretin actions, histamine and acetylcholine. Adult male C57BL/6 mice (n=6-10/group) were implanted with EEG recording electrodes and baseline recordings were obtained. After baseline recordings, controlled cortical impact was used to induce mild or moderate TBI. EEG recordings were obtained from the same animals at 7 and 15 days post-surgery. Separate groups of animals (n=6-8/group) were used to determine effects of TBI on the numbers of hypocretin and MCH-producing neurons in the hypothalamus, histaminergic neurons in the tuberomammillary nucleus, and cholinergic neurons in the basal forebrain. At 15 days post-TBI, wakefulness was decreased and NREM sleep was increased during the dark period in moderately injured animals. There were no differences between groups in REM sleep time, nor were there differences between groups in sleep during the light period. TBI effects on hypocretin and cholinergic neurons were such that more severe injury resulted in fewer cells. Numbers of MCH neurons and histaminergic neurons were not altered under the conditions of this study. Thus, we conclude that moderate TBI in mice reduces wakefulness and increases NREM sleep during the dark period, effects that may be mediated by hypocretin-producing neurons and/or downstream cholinergic effectors in the basal forebrain.

publication date

  • January 1, 2017

has restriction

  • gold

Date in CU Experts

  • February 1, 2018 2:49 AM

Full Author List

  • Thomasy HE; Febinger HY; Ringgold KM; Gemma C; Opp MR

author count

  • 5

Other Profiles

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2451-9944

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 71

end page

  • 84


  • 2