Narcolepsy and the Dissociation of REM Sleep and Cataplexy through Ambient Temperature Manipulation

Viberti, Bianca; Branca, Lisa; Bellini, Simone; Bassetti, Claudio L.A.; Adamantidis, Antoine; Schmidt, Markus (30 December 2021). Narcolepsy and the Dissociation of REM Sleep and Cataplexy through Ambient Temperature Manipulation (bioRxiv). Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory 10.1101/2021.12.29.474449

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Narcolepsy is characterized by increased REM sleep propensity and cataplexy. Although narcolepsy is caused by the selective loss or dysfunction of hypocretin (Hcrt) neurons within the lateral hypothalamus (LH), mechanisms underlying REM sleep propensity and cataplexy remain to be elucidated. We have recently shown that wild type (WT) mice increase REM sleep expression when exposed to thermoneutral ambient temperature (Ta) warming during the light (inactive) phase. We hypothesized that the loss of Hcrt may lead to exaggerated responses with respect to increased REM sleep and cataplexy during Ta warming. To test this hypothesis, Hcrt-KO mice were implanted for chronic sleep recordings and housed in a temperature-controlled cabinet. Sleep-wake expression and both spontaneous cataplexy and food-elicited cataplexy were evaluated at constant Ta and during a Ta manipulation protocol. Here we show several unexpected findings. First, Hcrt-KO mice show opposite circadian patterns with respect to REM sleep responsiveness to thermoneutral Ta warming compared to WT mice. As previous demonstrated, WT mice increased REM sleep when Ta warming is presented during the inactive (light) phase, whereas Hcrt-KO showed a significant decrease in REM sleep expression. In contrast, Hcrt-KO mice increased REM sleep expression upon exposure to Ta warming when presented during the active (dark) phase, a circadian time when WT mice showed no significant changes in REM sleep as a function of Ta. Second, we found that REM sleep and cataplexy can be dissociated through Ta manipulation. Specifically, although Ta warming significantly increased REM sleep expression in Hcrt-KO mice during the active phase, cataplexy bout number and total cataplexy duration significantly decreased. In contrast, cataplexy expression was favoured during Ta cooling when REM sleep expression significantly decreased. Finally, video actigraphy and sleep-wake recordings in Hcrt-KO mice demonstrated that Ta manipulation did not significantly alter waking motor activity patterns or waking or NREM sleep durations. These data suggest that neural circuits gating REM sleep and cataplexy expression can be dissociated with Ta manipulation.

Item Type:

Working Paper


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > DCR Unit Sahli Building > Forschungsgruppe Neurologie

UniBE Contributor:

Viberti, Bianca; Bellini, Simone; Bassetti, Claudio L.A.; Adamantidis, Antoine Roger and Schmidt, Markus


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory




Chantal Kottler

Date Deposited:

03 Feb 2022 13:24

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:01

Publisher DOI:





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