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Ventrolateral preoptic nucleus

Structure and Function of Ventrolateral Preoptic Nucleus: – At least 80% of neurons in the VLPO are GABAergic. – Two sub-populations of neurons in the […]

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Structure and Function of Ventrolateral Preoptic Nucleus:
– At least 80% of neurons in the VLPO are GABAergic.
– Two sub-populations of neurons in the VLPO: Type 1 inhibited by serotonin, Type 2 excited by serotonin and adenosine.
– VLPO neurons innervate components of the ascending arousal system, promoting sleep.
– Constantin von Economo noted the sleep-promoting influence of the anterior hypothalamus.
– Orexin neurons in the posterior lateral hypothalamus stabilize wakefulness.

Sleep Regulation:
– Large lesions in the preoptic area and basal forebrain result in insomnia.
– VLPO neurons release GABA and galanin to suppress arousal system firing.
– Opto- or chemogenetic activation of VLPO neurons confirms their sleep-promoting effects.
– Orexin neuron loss in narcolepsy destabilizes the wake-sleep switch.
– Activation of excitatory adenosine A2A receptor-expressing neurons induces slow-wave sleep.

Circadian Rhythm and Sleep:
– The suprachiasmatic nucleus is the master clock for circadian rhythms in mammals.
– Lesions of the dorsomedial nucleus disrupt the circadian rhythm of sleep.
– GABAergic neurons in the dorsomedial nucleus innervate the VLPO, promoting wakefulness.
– The SCN projects to the subparaventricular zone, which then influences the dorsomedial nucleus and VLPO.
– The dorsomedial nucleus mainly promotes wakefulness during the active period.

Clinical Significance and Sleep Promotion:
– Elderly patients with more galanin neurons in the VLPO have better sleep.
– Lesions in the VLPO result in decreased NREM sleep time and prolonged insomnia.
– Imbalance of input to arousal system and VLPO neurons may contribute to stress-induced insomnia.
– Sedative/hypnotic drugs potentiate GABA-A receptors, enhancing the sleep-promoting effects of VLPO.
– VLPO lesions produce resistance to sedative effects of certain drugs.

Research and Neurobiology:
– GABAergic PZ neurons inhibit glutamatergic PB neurons.
– Activation of a delimited node of GABAergic medullary neurons initiates polygraphic and neurobehavioral manifestations of SWS.
– Medullary PZ is identified as a sleep-promoting center.
– Anatomical, electrophysiological, and chemo- and optogenetic studies support the role of PZ in sleep promotion.
– Sleep is controlled by a subset of nucleus accumbens core neurons.

Ventrolateral preoptic nucleus (Wikipedia)

The ventrolateral preoptic nucleus (VLPO), also known as the intermediate nucleus of the preoptic area (IPA), is a small cluster of neurons situated in the anterior hypothalamus, sitting just above and to the side of the optic chiasm in the brain of humans and other animals. The brain's sleep-promoting nuclei (e.g., the VLPO, parafacial zone, nucleus accumbens core, and lateral hypothalamic MCH neurons), together with the ascending arousal system which includes components in the brainstem, hypothalamus and basal forebrain, are the interconnected neural systems which control states of arousal, sleep, and transitions between these two states. The VLPO is active during sleep, particularly during non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM sleep), and releases inhibitory neurotransmitters, mainly GABA and galanin, which inhibit neurons of the ascending arousal system that are involved in wakefulness and arousal. The VLPO is in turn innervated by neurons from several components of the ascending arousal system. The VLPO is activated by the endogenous sleep-promoting substances adenosine and prostaglandin D2. The VLPO is inhibited during wakefulness by the arousal-inducing neurotransmitters norepinephrine and acetylcholine. The role of the VLPO in sleep and wakefulness, and its association with sleep disorders – particularly insomnia and narcolepsy – is a growing area of neuroscience research.

Ventrolateral Preoptic Nucleus
The VLPO is located at the anterior of the hypothalamus. It is also called the intermediate nucleus of the preoptic area
Part ofPreoptic nucleus
Acronym(s)VLPO or IPA
Anatomical terms of neuroanatomy
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