Brain research

Is the nucleus raphe dorsalis a target for the peptides possessing hypnogenic properties?

PMID 8180798


Several peptides exhibiting hypnogenic properties when administered i.p., i.v. or i.c.v. are now known. No data, however, are available concerning their targets in the brain. In the present work we hypothesize that the nucleus raphe dorsalis (nRD) may be one such target since it contains 2 sleep permissive components that must be influenced for sleep to occur. One of these components is serotoninergic in nature and gates the occurrence of ponto-geniculo-occipital (PGO) waves. The other, of unknown nature, influences tonic sleep phenomena. For hypnogenic peptides, a putative mechanism permitting the triggering and maintenance of sleep might consist of influencing both the above components. In the present work, 3 hypnogenic substances, CLIP (corticotropin-Like intermediate lobe peptide), VIP (vasoactive intestinal polypeptide) and DSIP (delta sleep inducing peptide), were injected into the nRD in order to determine whether these compounds still induce sleep by local administration. To verify that such local injections do not spread outside the nRD, radiolabelled CLIP and VIP were also injected. Autoradiograms obtained with either labeled CLIP or VIP indicate that these compounds, injected in a 0.2 microliter volume, do not spread outside the nRD. The sleep data obtained confirm that CLIP, at a dose of 10 ng, induces an increase in duration of paradoxical sleep (PS); this effect is observed only for injection sites located in the dorsolateral part of the nRD, an area where CLIP immunoreactive (IR) fibers are present. VIP, at a dose of 100 ng, also increases PS duration, whereas at 10 ng, only slow wave sleep duration is increased. In this case, the positive injection sites are scattered throughout the entire nRD as are the VIP-IR fibers. With DSIP, no sleep effect was found whatever the dose used or the site injected; in the same manner, no DSIP-IR fibers have been located in this structure. These data suggest that the nRD is a target for the expression of the hypnogenic properties of CLIP and VIP, but not for DSIP. The nature of the possible mechanisms permitting such expression are discussed.