Author(s): Mallick BN, Singh A
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Abstract Ever since the discovery of rapid eye movement sleep (REMS), studies have been undertaken to understand its necessity, function and mechanism of action on normal physiological processes as well as in pathological conditions. In this review, first, we briefly surveyed the literature which led us to hypothesise REMS maintains brain excitability. Thereafter, we present evidence from in vivo and in vitro studies tracing behavioural to cellular to molecular pathways showing REMS deprivation (REMSD) increases noradrenaline level in the brain, which stimulates neuronal Na-K ATPase, the key factor for maintaining neuronal excitability, the fundamental property of a neuron for executing brain functions; we also show for the first time the role of glia in maintaining ionic homeostasis in the brain. As REMSD exerts a global effect on most of the physiological processes regulated by the brain, we propose that REMS possibly serves a housekeeping function in the brain. Finally, subject to confirmation from clinical studies, based on the results reviewed here, it is being proposed that the subjects suffering from REMS loss may be effectively treated by reducing either noradrenaline level or Na-K ATPase activity in the brain. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Sleep Med Rev
and referenced in Journal of Sleep Disorders & Therapy