Institute of Molecular Medicine
Center for Life Sciences
Title：REM Sleep in Cocaine Relapse
Speaker：Yanhua Huang, Ph.D.
Department of Psychiatry,Translational Neuroscience Program, University of Pittsburgh, USA
Host：北京大学分子医学研究所 周 专(Tel. 6275-3212)
北京大学生命科学学院 李毓龙(Tel. 6276-6915)
Abstract: Sleep abnormalities commonly occur among chronic cocaine users long after withdrawal. The withdrawal-associated sleep problems, including loss of sleep and worsened sleep quality, have been speculated to foster cocaine use and relapse. However, it is not well understood whether and how sleep-associated mechanisms may regulate the brain reward circuitry and impact relapse-like behaviors. We found that in rats trained to self-administer cocaine, sleep intervention that increases REM sleep episode durations leads to attenuation of cue-induced cocaine craving after long-term withdrawal. This is accompanied with changes in synaptic transmission in the nucleus accumbens —a key brain region for reward processing. Our preliminary results further suggest that enhancing activity of the melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) neurons in the lateral hypothalamus may facilitate REM sleep normalization, whereas increasing MCH receptor signaling in the nucleus accumbens may facilitate the attenuation of cocaine craving after withdrawal.