Published online by Cambridge University Press: 29 August 2017
Clinical depression is accompanied by changes in sleep patterning, which is controlled in a circadian fashion. It is thus desirable that animal models of depression mirror such diurnally-specific state alterations, along with other behavioral and physiological changes. We previously found several changes in behavior indicative of a depression-like phenotype in offspring of rats subjected to repeated, variable prenatal stress (PNS), including increased locomotor activity during specific periods of the circadian cycle. We, therefore, investigated whether PNS rats also exhibit alterations in sleep/wakefulness behavior around the change from light-to-dark phase. Control and PNS Sprague–Dawley rats were implanted with electrodes for continuous monitoring of electroencephalic activity used to determine behavioral state. The distribution of slow-wave sleep (SWS), rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) and wakefulness was compared for periods before and after lights were turned off, between baseline conditions and after exposure to an acute stressor. Both REMS and SWS amounts were increased in PNS rats relative to control animals in the beginning of the dark phase. REMS changes were due to an increase in REMS bout number, rather than in bout duration. During this circadian time period, we did not find any sex differences in the state changes. These results indicate that PNS affects baseline sleep patterning in both male and female rats around active-phase onset.
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