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732 nature neuroscience volume 4 no 7 july 2001 It is well established that the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is
 

Summary: 732 nature neuroscience · volume 4 no 7 · july 2001
articles
It is well established that the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is
the circadian pacemaker for many behaviors, including the
sleep­wake cycle1. A great deal is known about mechanisms
underlying circadian oscillations in the SCN2, as well as circuits
that control the states of sleep and waking3,4. However, the man-
ner in which these two processes interact so that the SCN oscil-
lator regulates arousal remains a mystery.
SCN lesions eliminate the circadian rhythmicity of sleep and
waking, and also significantly reduce daily time awake5. These
and other results6 led to the view that the SCN provides circadi-
an regulation of arousal by periodically increasing alertness rather
than by, for example, actively increasing drowsiness and sleep. A
projection from the SCN to brain structures that regulate arousal
would fit with this view, but no such projection has been found.
One brain area that has been strongly implicated in arousal
and in sleep­wake functions is the noradrenergic locus coeruleus
(LC) system. LC neurons vary their impulse activity with stages of
sleep and waking, being most active during waking, less active

  

Source: Aston-Jones, Gary - Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine