Article: a PhD thesis.
The effects of gamma-hydroxybutyrate, baclofen and GABAB receptors on brain activity and sleep in mice and humans
Université de Lausanne, Faculté de biologie et médecine
Currently, there is an increased interest in γ-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) and its effects onsleep. This compound, sometimes referred to as 'rape drug', was recently approved as atreatment for the sleep disorder narcolepsy. Although several studies suggest that GHBinduces slow-wave sleep duration and improves sleep quality by increasing EEG slow-waveactivity, others question its ability to induce physiological sleep. GHB's mechanism of actionis still unclear, although in vivo and in vitro it seems to act at high doses as a low-affinityagonist of GABAB receptors. Furthermore, the role GABAB receptors play in sleep and theelectroencephalogram (EEG) is largely unknown.The aim of this project was therefore to investigate the effects of GHB on sleep and EEG, theinvolvement of GABAB receptors in mediating these effects, as well as the intrinsic role ofeach GABAB receptor subunit in the regulation of sleep. Thus, we administered GHB andbaclofen (BAC, a high-affinity agonist at GABAB receptor) to mice lacking the different GABABreceptor subunits and to healthy human volunteers.Our results, both in mice and humans, showed that GHB produced slow waves exclusivelythrough the stimulation of GABAB receptors, but did not induce physiological sleepnecessary to reduce sleep need and to increase cognitive performance. Unlike GHB, BACaffected the homeostatic regulation of sleep (sleep need) and induced a delayedhypersomnia. Finally, GABAB receptor and its subunits seem to play an important role insleep and in particular its circadian distribution.
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