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This chapter describes the recent progress on the molecular mechanism of prostaglandin (PG) D2-induced sleep, basic and clinical studies on the roles of PGD2 in physiological sleep regulation, and current and emerging roles of adenosine in regulating sleep. There are two distinct types of PGD synthase (PGDS), one being lipocalin-type PGDS (L-PGDS) and the other, hematopoietic PGDS (H-PGDS). When PGD2 is infused into the subarachnoid space of the basal forebrain of wild-type mice, the region in which DP1 receptors are most abundant, the extracellular adenosine concentration increases in a dose-dependent manner. This increase is absent in DP1 receptor knockout (KO) mice, indicating that the increase in adenosine in the subarachnoid space depends on DP1 receptors. Adenosine deaminase, an enzyme that catabolizes adenosine to inosine, is predominantly localized in the tuberomammilary nucleus (TMN) of the brain.
The humoral theory of sleep regulation, the concept that sleep and wakefulness are induced and regulated by a hormone-like chemical substance rather than by a neural network, was initially proposed by Kuniomi Ishimori of Nagoya, Japan, and independently and concurrently by the French neuroscientist Henri Piéron of Paris, in the first decade of the twentieth century. They took samples of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from sleep-deprived dogs and infused them into the brains of normal dogs. The recipient dogs soon fell asleep. Thus these researchers became the first to demonstrate the existence of endogenous sleep-promoting substances. However, the chemical nature of these sleep substance(s) was not identified. During the following 90 years, more than 30 so-called endogenous sleep and wake substances were reported by numerous investigators to exist in the brain, CSF, urine, and other organs and tissues of animals. For example, delta-sleep-inducing peptide, muramyl peptides, uridine, oxidized glutathione, and vitamin B12 have been proposed as endogenous somnogenic substances. The detailed account of these substances is described in an excellent treatise by Inoué (1989). During the early 1980s, Professor Jouvet and his colleagues in Lyon also found a sleep-inducing factor produced by the periventricular structures including the choroid plexus in the central nervous system (CNS) of cats (Bobillier et al., 1982; Jouvet et al., 1983).
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