Genetic differences in the characteristics of sleep-wake states in adult animals offer a potential window for examining how the neonatal and adult behavioural states are related to one another. Our recent finding that adult Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats show pronounced genetic differences in sleep-wake patterns relative to the Wistar (WIS) control strain led us to investigate the relationship between these behavioural states in neonates and adults in a longitudinal study in these two strains of rats. Similar pronounced differences in the sleep-wake states were observed between WKY and WIS rats in neonatal and in adult animals. At both ages, WKY rats spent more time in activesleep (AS) and rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) and less time in quiet sleep (QS) and non-REM sleep (NREMS) than WIS rats, and the sleep-wake states were more fragmented in neonatal and adult WKY rats. While it is not known how neonatal AS and QS are physiologically related to adult REMS and NREMS, respectively, the finding of similar differences in the amounts of sleep-wake states in neonatal and adult WKY and WIS rats argues strongly that at some level they are controlled by similar genetic as well as cellular/physiological mechanisms.
- Behavioural sleep states
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