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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: September 2011

12 - Amygdalar regulation of REM sleep

from Section III - Neuronal regulation



The amygdala has a long-recognized role in emotion, and a growing body of work demonstrates that it plays an important part in the regulation of arousal state. Primary findings are that the amygdala, especially its central nucleus, is a strong regulator of rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) and related phenomena, though a smaller body of research indicates a role for the amygdala in regulating non-REM (NREM). Considering its vital place in the limbic circuitry that controls emotion, it is likely that the amygdala mediates fear- and stress-induced alterations in sleep, and investigations in animals have begun to provide confirmatory evidence. In particular, GABAergic regulation of the central nucleus of the amygdala appears to play a significant role in stress-induced reductions in REM. In humans, neuroimaging studies suggest that the pathophysiological mechanisms of narcolepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), two central nervous system disorders with a prominent emotional component and a demonstrated abnormality of REM, involve an amygdalar-mediated reorganization of fundamental REM systems.

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