J Neurosci. 2010 Oct 20;30(42):14194-204.
Center for Integrative Genomics, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland, and Department of Biomedicine, Institute of Physiology, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
The role of GABA(B) receptors in sleep is still poorly understood. GHB (γ-hydroxybutyric acid) targets these receptors and is the only drug approved to treat the sleep disorder narcolepsy. GABA(B) receptors are obligate dimers comprised of the GABA(B2) subunit and either one of the two GABA(B1) subunit isoforms, GABA(B1a) and GABA(B1b). To better understand the role of GABA(B) receptors in sleep regulation, we performed electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings in mice devoid of functional GABA(B) receptors (1(-/-) and 2(-/-)) or lacking one of the subunit 1 isoforms (1a(-/-) and 1b(-/-)). The distribution of sleep over the day was profoundly altered in 1(-/-) and 2(-/-) mice, suggesting a role for GABA(B) receptors in the circadian organization of sleep. Several other sleep and EEG phenotypes pointed to a more prominent role for GABA(B1a) compared with the GABA(B1b) isoform. Moreover, we found that GABA(B1a) protects against the spontaneous seizure activity observed in 1(-/-) and 2(-/-) mice. We also evaluated the effects of the GHB-prodrug GBL (γ-butyrolactone) and of baclofen (BAC), a high-affinity GABA(B) receptor agonist. Both drugs induced a state distinct from physiological sleep that was not observed in 1(-/-) and 2(-/-) mice. Subsequent sleep was not affected by GBL whereas BAC was followed by a delayed hypersomnia even in 1(-/-) and 2(-/-) mice. The differential effects of GBL and BAC might be attributed to differences in GABA(B)-receptor affinity. These results also indicate that all GBL effects are mediated through GABA(B) receptors, although these receptors do not seem to be involved in mediating the BAC-induced hypersomnia.
PMID: 20962240 [PubMed – in process]