Sleep influences the cardiovascular, endocrine, and thermoregulatory systems. Each of these systems may be affected by the activity of hypocretin (orexin)-producing neurons, which are involved in the etiology of narcolepsy. We examined sleep in male rats, either hypocretin neuron-ablated orexin/ataxin-3 transgenic (narcoleptic) rats or their wild-type littermates. We simultaneously monitored electroencephalographic and electromyographic activity, core body temperature, tail temperature, blood pressure, electrocardiographic activity, and locomotion. We analyzed the daily patterns of these variables, parsing sleep and circadian components and changes between states of sleep. We also analyzed the baroreceptor reflex. Our results show that while core temperature and heart rate are affected by both sleep and time of day, blood pressure is mostly affected by sleep. As expected, we found that both blood pressure and heart rate were acutely affected by sleep state transitions in both genotypes. Interestingly, hypocretin neuron-ablated rats have significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure during all sleep stages (non-rapid eye movement, rapid eye movement) and while awake (quiet, active). Thus, while hypocretins are critical for the normal temporal structure of sleep and wakefulness, they also appear to be important in regulating baseline blood pressure and possibly in modulating the effects of sleep on blood pressure.
View details for DOI 10.1152/japplphysiol.00516.2010
View details for Web of Science ID 000285344900016
View details for PubMedID 20705949