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Relevance of deprivation studies in understanding rapid eye movement sleep

Authors Mehta R, Khan S, Mallick BN

Received 7 January 2018

Accepted for publication 22 February 2018

Published 29 May 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 143—158

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NSS.S140621

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Justinn Cochran

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Steven A Shea


Rachna Mehta,1,2 Shafa Khan,1 Birendra N Mallick1

1School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India; 2Amity Institute of Neuropsychology & Neurosciences, Amity University, Noida, India

Abstract: Rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) is a unique phenomenon essential for maintaining normal physiological processes and is expressed at least in species higher in the evolution. The basic scaffold of the neuronal network responsible for REMS regulation is present in the brainstem, which may be directly or indirectly influenced by most other physiological processes. It is regulated by the neurons in the brainstem. Various manipulations including chemical, electrophysiological, lesion, stimulation, behavioral, ontogenic and deprivation studies have been designed to understand REMS genesis, maintenance, physiology and functional significance. Although each of these methods has its significance and limitations, deprivation studies have contributed significantly to the overall understanding of REMS. In this review, we discuss the advantages and limitations of various methods used for REMS deprivation (REMSD) to understand neural regulation and physiological significance of REMS. Among the deprivation strategies, the flowerpot method is by far the method of choice because it is simple and convenient, exploits physiological parameter (muscle atonia) for REMSD and allows conducting adequate controls to overcome experimental limitations as well as to rule out nonspecific effects. Notwithstanding, a major criticism that the flowerpot method faces is that of perceived stress experienced by the experimental animals. Nevertheless, we conclude that like most methods, particularly for in vivo behavioral studies, in spite of a few limitations, given the advantages described above, the flowerpot method is the best method of choice for REMSD studies.

Keywords: flowerpot method, locus coeruleus, methods of REMS deprivation, noradrenaline, stress response

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