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

36 - The role of REM sleep in maintaining neuronal excitability and its possible mechanism of action

from Section V - Functional significance



Sleep has been generally divided into rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM (NREM) sleep in higher order mammals, including humans. Several theories have proposed various functions of different stages of sleep. We hypothesized that REM sleep maintains brain excitability. In this chapter, we discuss the significance of REM sleep in the maintenance of neuronal electrochemical homeostasis, which governs brain excitability. Selective REM-sleep loss increases the activity of Na-K ATPase, a membrane-bound enzyme that maintains neuronal Na+ and K+ homeostasis and, thus, the neuronal resting membrane potential. Further, the REM sleep deprivation-induced increase in Na-K ATPase activity has been attributed to an increased level of norepinephrine in the brain.

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