Frequent nightly arousals typical for sleep disorders cause daytime fatigue and present health risks. As such arousals are often short, partial, or occur locally within the brain, reliable characterization in rodent models of sleep disorders and in human patients is challenging. We found that the EEG spectral composition of non-rapid-eye-movement sleep (NREMS) in healthy mice shows an infraslow (~50 s) interval over which microarousals appear preferentially. NREMS could hence be vulnerable to abnormal arousals on this time scale. Chronic pain is well-known to disrupt sleep. In the spared-nerve-injury (SNI) mouse model of chronic neuropathic pain, we found more numerous local cortical arousals accompanied by heart rate increases in hindlimb primary somatosensory, but not in prelimbic, cortices, although sleep macroarchitecture appeared unaltered. Closed-loop mechanovibrational stimulation further revealed higher sensory arousability. Chronic pain thus preserved conventional sleep measures but resulted in elevated spontaneous and evoked arousability. We develop a novel moment-to-moment probing of NREMS vulnerability and propose that chronic pain-induced sleep complaints arise from perturbed arousability.
All processed data generated or analyzed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data files are provided for all figures. Matlab codes for major analyses are provided.
- Anita Lüthi
- Isabelle Decosterd
- Stephany Fulda
- Anita Lüthi
- Isabelle Decosterd
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All experimental procedures complied with the Swiss National Institutional Guidelines on Animal Experimentation and were approved by the Swiss Cantonal Veterinary Office Committee for Animal Experimentation.
- Rohini Kuner, Universität Heidelberg, Germany
© 2021, Lüthi et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
In dopaminergic (DA) substantia nigra (SN) neurons Cav2.3 R-type Ca2+-currents contribute to somatodendritic Ca2+-oscillations. This activity may contribute to the selective degeneration of these neurons in Parkinson's disease (PD) since Cav2.3-knockout is neuroprotective in a PD mouse model. Here we show that in tsA-201-cells the membrane-anchored β2-splice variants β2a and β2e are required to stabilize Cav2.3 gating properties allowing sustained Cav2.3 availability during simulated pacemaking and enhanced Ca2+-currents during bursts. We confirmed the expression of β2a- and β2e-subunit transcripts in the mouse SN and in identified SN DA neurons. Patch-clamp recordings of mouse DA midbrain neurons in culture and SN DA neurons in brain slices revealed SNX-482-sensitive R-type Ca2+-currents with voltage-dependent gating properties that suggest modulation by β2a- and/or β2e-subunits. Thus, β-subunit alternative splicing may prevent a fraction of Cav2.3 channels from inactivation in continuously active, highly vulnerable SN DA neurons, thereby also supporting Ca2+ signals contributing to the (patho)physiological role of Cav2.3 channels in PD.
The visual pathways that guide actions do not necessarily mediate conscious perception. Patients with primary visual cortex (V1) damage lose conscious perception but often retain unconscious abilities (e.g. blindsight). Here, we asked if saccade accuracy and post-saccadic following responses (PFRs) that automatically track target motion upon saccade landing are retained when conscious perception is lost. We contrasted these behaviors in the blind and intact fields of 11 chronic V1-stroke patients, and in 8 visually intact controls. Saccade accuracy was relatively normal in all cases. Stroke patients also had normal PFR in their intact fields, but no PFR in their blind fields. Thus, V1 damage did not spare the unconscious visual processing necessary for automatic, post-saccadic smooth eye movements. Importantly, visual training that recovered motion perception in the blind field did not restore the PFR, suggesting a clear dissociation between pathways mediating perceptual restoration and automatic actions in the V1-damaged visual system.