Pagliardini S, Gosgnach S, Dickson CT
PLoS ONE 2013;8(7):e70411
Brain state alternations resembling those of sleep spontaneously occur in rats under urethane anesthesia and they are closely linked with sleep-like respiratory changes. Although rats are a common model for both sleep and respiratory physiology, we sought to determine if similar brain state and respiratory changes occur in mice under urethane. We made local field potential recordings from the hippocampus and measured respiratory activity by means of EMG recordings in intercostal, genioglossus, and abdominal muscles. Similar to results in adult rats, urethane anesthetized mice displayed quasi-periodic spontaneous forebrain state alternations between deactivated patterns resembling slow wave sleep (SWS) and activated patterns resembling rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. These alternations were associated with an increase in breathing rate, respiratory variability, a depression of inspiratory related activity in genioglossus muscle and an increase in expiratory-related abdominal muscle activity when comparing deactivated (SWS-like) to activated (REM-like) states. These results demonstrate that urethane anesthesia consistently induces sleep-like brain state alternations and correlated changes in respiratory activity across different rodent species. They open up the powerful possibility of utilizing transgenic mouse technology for the advancement and translation of knowledge regarding sleep cycle alternations and their impact on respiration.