European Sleep Research Laboratories

Physiological regulation in the wake-sleep cycle

University of Bologna
Department of Human and General Physiology

Giovanni Zamboni
P.zza P.ta S. Donato 2
40126 Bologna Italy

Phone +39 051 2091742 Fax +39 051 2091737 Contact E-Mail Website   Research Domain
  • Basic Animal

  • Sleep Physiology-Neurophysiology in Animal
  • Sleep and Body Functions (Cardio-Respiratory, Thermoregulation/Metabolism, Endocrine)

Laboratory Description The laboratory of "Physiological regulation during the wake-sleep cycle" is made of three labs:

Laboratory 1. Neurophysiology

This laboratory focuses his research activity on the study of physiological regulation (thermoregulation, osmoregulation and cardiovascular functions) during the phases of the sleep-wake cycle (wakefulness, NREM sleep and REM sleep). The activity is oriented to explore the behavioral state-dependent changes in autonomic and endocrinal responses, evoked by stimulation of the central nervous system or by changes in homeostatically regulated variable (i.e. temperature, osmolarity). More in details, the lab studies the effects that the pharmacological or electrical manipulation of selective brain areas induces both on behavior (especially feeding, drinking and sleep-related behavior) and on the activity of the autonomic nervous system in modulating the cardiovascular, thermoregulatory, respiratory and osmoregulatory function. The experimental activity can be conducted in both free-behaving animals and anaesthetized animals.
The lab is equipped with two sound-attenuated recording box, in which it is possible to monitor behavior and sleep-wake cycle (by means of electroencephalographic recording and by video monitoring) simultaneously with cardiovascular (arterial pressure and heart rate), respiratory (electromyography of the muscle diaphragm) and thermoregulatory (brain temperature and cutaneous blood flow measured by means of infrared thermography) parameters. Experimental animals can also be surgically implanted under stereotaxic guide with intracerebral microcannulas to pharmacologically manipulate selective neuronal groups. The microinjection system is located outside the recoding box, so to allow cerebral microinjection while the animals are totally unaware of it.
The lab also has an experimental setup to conduct experiments in anaesthetized, artificially ventilated animals. Electrical and pharmacological manipulation of specific neuronal group will be performed in order to explore functional pathways controlling vegetative parameters. In addition to the variable listed previously, in this setup it is possible to record multiaxonal potential from peripheral nerve brunches (phrenic and brown adipose tissue sympathetic nerve recording)

Laboratory 2. Behaviour
Research Topics: Wake-sleep cycle - Environment

In this laboratory the changes in the architecture of the wake-sleep cycle induced in the albino rat by either tonic or phasic changes in the environmental conditions (temperature, light, sound, water an food availability) are studied. Also, the effect of either systemic or local (by means of micro-cannulae which are placed in specific areas of the central nervous system) injections of different substances are studied. The experiments are carried out in a large sound-proofed room in which two thermoregulated and ventilated boxes are placed. In each box the luminosity is maintained by means of an optic-fiber device which is controlled by a timer. Two cages, in which the animals are kept during the experimental sessions are placed in each box. An electric swivel allows the animal to move freely around the cage. The behaviour of the animal is monitored across the whole 24-h period by a remote TV system which is sensitive to infrared light and is connected to a video-recorder. Two polygraphic systems allow the recording of bioelectrical signals (EEG, EKG), hypothalamic temperature (by means of thermistors) and the motor activity of the animal (by means of a passive infrared detector). Following analogic to digital conversion, all data are stored on a PC. Either on-line or off-line analysis of data is made by means of both commercial and user softwares, which permit the automatic scoring of the wake-sleep stages and the frequency analysis of the bioelectrical signals.

Laboratory 3. Neurochemistry/Immunohistochemistry
Research Topics: Sleep – Hypothalamus

The main task of the Laboratory of Neurochemistry/Immunohistochemistry is to assess molecular brain correlates of changes in the wake-sleep cycle elicited by ambient or brain manipulations at the level of the hypothalamic structures in wake-sleep and autonomic regulation. The Laboratory of Neurochemistry/Immunohistochemistry can analyze the biochemistry of the central nervous system either on microsamples or whole slices and explants. The equipment ranges from basic tools as centrifuges, balances, freezers, electrophoresis and chromatography apparatus to different spectrophotometers, radioactivity counters, microscopes, cryostat and equipment for cell culture. This allows the use of a wide range of analytical and immunohistochemical methodologies.

Technical Capabilities and areas of expertise Neurophysiology of the wake-sleep cycle
Sleep under different environmental conditions
Cardio/respiratory and thermoregulatory/metabolic function during wake and sleep
Neurophysiology of the central autonomic network

Additional Descriptors, Keywords REM sleep regulation
Sleep and environment
Thermoregulation/Osmoregulation and sleep
Central control of autonomic/metabolic function

Selected Publications in the 5 past years Luppi M, Martelli D, Amici R, Baracchi F, Cerri M, Dentico D, Perez E, Zamboni G (2010) Hypothalamic osmoregulation is maintained across the wake–sleep cycle in the rat. J Sleep Res 19: 394-399.

Cerri M, Zamboni G, Tupone D, Dentico D, Luppi M, Martelli D, Perez E, Amici R (2010) Cutaneous vasodilation elicited by disinhibition of the caudal portion of the rostral ventromedial medulla of the free-behaving rat. Neuroscience 165: 984-995.

Dentico D, Amici R, Baracchi F, Cerri M, Del Sindaco E, Luppi M, Martelli D, Perez E, Zamboni G (2009) c-Fos expression in preoptic nuclei as a marker of sleep rebound in the rat. Eur J. Neurosci 30:651-661.

Pevernagie D, Stanley N, Berg S, Krieger J, Amici R, Bassetti C, Billiard M, Cirignotta F, Garcia-Borreguero D, Tobler I, Fischer J (2009) European guidelines for the certification of professionals in sleep medicine: report of the task force of the European Sleep Research Society. J Sleep Res 18:36-41.

Baracchi F, Zamboni G, Cerri M, Del Sindaco E, Dentico D, Jones CA, Luppi M, Perez E, Amici R (2008) Cold exposure impairs dark pulse capacity to induce REM sleep in the albino rat. J Sleep Res 17:166-179.

Amici R, Cerri M, Ocampo-Garcés A, Baracchi F, Dentico D, Jones CA, Luppi M, Perez E, Parmeggiani PL, Zamboni G (2008) Cold Exposure and Sleep in the Rat: REM Sleep Homeostasis and Body Size. Sleep 31:708-715.

Jones CA, Perez E, Amici R, Luppi M, Baracchi F, Cerri M, Dentico D, Zamboni G (2008) Lithium affects REM sleep occurrence, autonomic activity and brain second messengers in the rat. Behav Brain Res 187:254-261.

Cerri M, Morrison SF (2006) Corticotropin releasing factor increases in brown adipose tissue thermogenesis and heart rate through dorsomedial hypothalamus and medullary raphe pallidus. Neuroscience 140:711-21.

Key Publications of the Laboratory Amici R, Jones CA, Perez E, Zamboni G (2005) A physiologic view of REM sleep structure. In:. The physiologic nature of sleep (Parmeggiani PL, Velluti R, Eds) pp. 161-185. London: Imperial College Press.

Capitani P, Cerri M, Amici R, Baracchi F, Jones CA, Luppi M, Perez E, Parmeggiani PL, Zamboni G (2005) Changes in EEG activity and hypothalamic temperature as indices for non-REM sleep to REM sleep transitions. Neurosci Lett 383:182-187.

Cerri M, Ocampo-Garces A, Amici R, Baracchi F, Capitani P, Jones CA, Luppi M, Parmeggiani PL, Perez E, Zamboni G (2005) Cold Exposure and sleep in the rat: effects on sleep architecture and EEG. Sleep 28:694-705.

Cerri M, Morrison SF (2004). Activation of lateral hypothalamic neurons stimulates brown adipose tissue thermogenesis. Neuroscience 135:627-38.

Zamboni G, Jones CA, Domeniconi R, Amici R, Perez E, Luppi M, Cerri M, Parmeggiani PL (2004) Specific changes in cerebral second messenger accumulation underline REM sleep inhibition induced by the exposure to low ambient temperature. Brain Res 1022:62-70.

Amici R, Sanford LD, Kearney K, McInerney B, Ross RJ, Horner RL, Morrison AR (2004) A serotonergic (5-HT2) receptor mechanism in the Laterodorsal Tegmental Nucleus participates in regulating the pattern of Rapid-Eye-Movement sleep occurrence in the rat. Brain Res 996:9-18.

Amici R, Morales-Cobas G, Jones CA, Perez E, Torterolo P, Zamboni G, Parmeggiani PL (2001) REM sleep enhancement due to rhythmical auditory stimulation in the rat. Behav Brain Res 123:155-163.

Zamboni G, Amici R, Perez E, Jones CA, Parmeggiani PL (2001) Pattern of REM sleep occurrence in continuous darkness following the exposure to low ambient temperature in the rat. Behav Brain Res 122:25-32.

Amici R, Domeniconi R, Jones CA, Morales-Cobas G, Perez E, Tavernese L, Torterolo P, Zamboni G, Parmeggiani PL (2000) Changes in REM sleep occurrence due to rhythmical auditory stimulation in the rat. Brain Res 868:241-250.

Zamboni G, Perez E, Amici R, Jones CA, Parmeggiani PL (1999) Control of REM sleep: an aspect of the regulation of Physiological Homeostasis. Arch Ital Biol 137:249-262

Amici R, Zamboni G, Perez E, Jones CA, Parmeggiani PL (1998) The influence of a heavy thermal load on REM sleep in the rat. Brain Res 781:252-258.

Zamboni G, Perez E, Amici R (1997) Biochemical approach to the wake-sleep cycle. In: Somatic and autonomic regulation in sleep. Physiological and clinical aspects (Lugaresi E and Parmeggiani PL, Eds) pp 3-24. Milan: Springer.

Zamboni G, Jones CA, Amici R, Perez E, Parmeggiani PL (1996) The capacity to accumulate cyclic AMP in the preoptic-anterior hypothalamic area of the rat is affected by the exposition to low ambient temperature and the subsequent recovery. Exp Brain Res 109: 164-168.

Perez E, Zamboni G, Amici R, Jones CA, Parmeggiani PL (1995) cAMP accumulation in hypothalamus, cerebral cortex, pineal gland and brown fat across the wake-sleep cycle of the rat exposed to different ambient temperatures. Brain Res 684: 56-60.

Amici R, Zamboni G, Perez E, Jones CA, Toni I, Culin F, Parmeggiani PL (1994) Pattern of desynchronized sleep during deprivation and recovery induced in the rat by changes in ambient temperature. J Sleep Res 3: 250-256.

Perez E, Zamboni G, Amici R, Fadiga L, Parmeggiani PL (1991) Ultradian and circadian changes in the cAMP concentration in the preoptic region of the rat. Brain Res 551: 132-135.

Zamboni G, Perez E, Amici R, Parmeggiani PL (1990) The short-term effects of dl-propranolol on the wake-sleep cycle of the rat are related to selective changes in preoptic cyclic AMP concentration. Exp Brain Res 81: 107-112.

Amici R, Perez E, Zamboni G, Parmeggiani PL (1990) Changes in cAMP concentration in the rat preoptic area during synchronized and desynchronized sleep. Experientia 46: 58-59.

Perez E, Amici R, Bacchelli B, Zamboni G, Libert JP, Parmeggiani PL (1987) Kinetic parameters of tyrosine hydroxylase in the rat's preoptic region during sleep deprivation and recovery induced by ambient temperature. Sleep 10: 436-442.

Current/Completed Grants (past 5 years) ctive grants.
- Ministry of Instruction, University and Research, Italy, PRIN 2008: Role of hypocretinergic system in thermoregulatory cardiovascular control during wake and sleep - Foundation Cassa di Risparmio Bologna: Role of hypothalamic neurogenesis in the development of obesity and its sleep and cardiovascular comorbidities.

Other laboratory Members
Title MD,BA First Name Roberto Last Name Amici Position Associate Professor E-Mail  
Title MD First Name Emanuele Last Name Perez Position Associate Professor E-Mail  
Title PhD,MD First Name Matteo Last Name Cerri Position Assistant Professor E-Mail  
Title PhD First Name Marco Last Name Luppi Position Post-Doc E-Mail  
Title PhD First Name Davide Last Name Martelli Position Post-Doc E-Mail  
Title PhD First Name Abed Al-Salam Middle Name Yasein Last Name Al-Jahmany Position PhD student E-Mail  
First Name Marco Last Name Mastrotto Position PhD student E-Mail  
Title PhD,MD First Name Ennio Last Name Vivaldi Position Professor Institution Universidad de Chile, Santiago  
Title PhD,MD First Name Adrian Last Name Ocampo-Garces Position Assistant Professor Institution Universidad de Chile, Santiago  
Title PhD First Name Shaun Last Name Morrison Position Professor Institution Oregon Health & Science University  
First Name Pablo Last Name Torterolo Position Assistant Professor Institution Universidad de la Republica, Montevideo  
Past Members
Title MD First Name Pier Luigi Last Name Parmeggiani Current Affiliation Emeritus, University of Bologna  
Title PhD First Name Francesca Last Name Baracchi Current Affiliation University of Milan  
Title PhD,MD First Name Daniela Last Name Dentico  
Title PhD First Name Domenico Last Name Tupone Current Affiliation Oregon Health & Science University