To determine the respective role played by orexin/hypocretin and histamine (HA) neurons in maintaining wakefulness (W), we characterized the behavioral and sleep-wake phenotypes of orexin(Ox) knockout(−/−) mice and compared them with those of histidine-decarboxylase(HDC, HA-synthesizing enzyme)−/−mice. While both mouse strains displayed sleep fragmentation and increased paradoxical sleep(PS), they presented a number of marked differences: 1) The PS-increase in HDC−/−mice was seen during lightness, whereas that in Ox−/−mice occurred during darkness; 2) Contrary to HDC−/−, Ox−/−mice had no W deficiency around lights-off, nor an abnormal EEG and responded to a new environment with increased W; 3) Only Ox−/−, but not HDC−/−mice, displayed narcolepsy and deficient W when faced with motor challenge. Thus, when placed on a wheel, WT, but not littermate Ox−/−mice, voluntarily spent their time in turning it and as a result, remained highly awake; this was accompanied by dense c-fos expression in many areas of their brains, including Ox-neurons in the dorsolateral hypothalamus. The W and motor deficiency of Ox−/−mice was due to the absence of Ox because intraventricular dosing of Ox-A restored their W amount and motor performance whereas SB-334867 (Ox1-receptor antagonist, i.p.) impaired W and locomotion of WT mice during the test. These data indicate that Ox, but not HA, promotes W through enhanced locomotion and suggest that HA and Ox neurons exert a distinct, but complementary and synergistic control of W: the neuropeptide being more involved in its behavioral aspects, whereas the amine is mainly responsible for its qualitative cognitive aspects and cortical-EEG activation.
Keywords: orexin, hypocretin, histamine, wakefulness, cortical activation, arousal, posterior hypothalamus, narcolepsy, somnolence, locomotion, behavior, knockout mice, orexin, hypocretin, histamine, wakefulness, cortical activation, arousal, posterior hypothalamus, narcolepsy, somnolence, locomotion, behavior, knockout mice,