Sleep.: auth.: group P. Franken

Sleep. 2015 Nov 6. pii: sp-00269-15. [Epub ahead of print]

Altered Sleep Homeostasis in Reverbα Knockout Mice.



The nuclear receptor REV-ERBα is a potent, constitutive transcriptional repressor critical for the regulation of key circadian and metabolic genes. Recently, REV-ERBα’s involvement in learning, neurogenesis, mood, and dopamine turnover was demonstrated suggesting a specific role in central nervous system functioning. We have previously shown that the brain expression of several core clock genes, including Rev-erbα, is modulated by sleep loss. We here test the consequences of a loss of REV-ERBα on the homeostatic regulation of sleep.


EEG/EMG signals were recorded in Rev-erbα knockout (KO) mice and their wild type (WT) littermates during baseline, sleep deprivation, and recovery. Cortical gene expression measurements after sleep deprivation were contrasted to baseline.


Although baseline sleep/ wake duration was remarkably similar, KO mice showed an advance of the sleep/ wake distribution relative to the light-dark cycle. After sleep onset in baseline and after sleep deprivation, both EEG delta power (1-4 Hz) and sleep consolidation were reduced in KO mice indicating a slower increase of homeostatic sleep need during wakefulness. This slower increase might relate to the smaller increase in theta and gamma power observed in the waking EEG prior to sleep onset under both conditions. Indeed, the increased theta activity during wakefulness predicted delta power in subsequent NREM sleep. Lack of Rev-erbα increased Bmal1, Npas2, Clock, and Fabp7 expression, confirming the direct regulation of these genes by REV-ERBα also in the brain.


Our results add further proof to the notion that clock genes are involved in sleep homeostasis. Because accumulating evidence directly links REV-ERBα to dopamine signaling the altered homeostatic regulation of sleep reported here are discussed in that context.

Copyright © 2015 Associated Professional Sleep Societies, LLC. All rights reserved.


Clock genes; Process S; depression; mood; neurogenesis; slow wave activity.

PMID: 26564124