Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mechanism of breathing muscle 'paralysis' in dreaming sleep identified

Date:
November 16, 2012
Source:
American Thoracic Society
Summary:
A novel brain mechanism mediating the inhibition of the critical breathing muscles during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep has been identified for the first time in a new study.

A novel brain mechanism mediating the inhibition of the critical breathing muscles during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep has been identified for the first time in a new study, offering the possibility of a new treatment target for sleep-related breathing problems.

The findings were published online ahead of print publication in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

"REM sleep is accompanied by profound inhibition of muscle activity," said researcher Richard Horner, PhD, professor of medicine and physiology at the University of Toronto This "paralysis" affects breathing muscles and "is a cause of snoring and other breathing problems in sleep, especially obstructive sleep apnea."

Sleep apnea is a common and serious problem that increases the risk for heart attacks, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and daytime sleepiness.

According to Dr. Horner, "the brain mechanism mediating inhibition of the critical breathing muscles in REM sleep was unknown, but a novel and powerful inhibitory mechanism is identified for the first time in our study."

In the study, performed by PhD student Kevin Grace, rats were studied across sleep-wake states. The researchers targeted manipulation of the brain region that controls tongue muscles during sleep.

The tongue is an important breathing muscle because its activity keeps the airspace open behind the tongue to allow for the effective passage of air into the lungs. Inhibition of tongue muscle activity in sleep in some people leads to backward movement of the tongue and blockage of the airspace. This blockage in sleep leads to episodes of self-suffocation (sleep apnea) that are rescued by waking up from sleep. Such episodes can occur hundreds of times a night.

Importantly, the muscle activating effects of these interventions were largest during REM sleep and minimal or absent in other sleep-wake states. The brain chemical mediating this powerful inhibition of breathing muscle activity in REM sleep is acetylcholine, acting via muscarinic receptors that are functionally linked to a particular class of potassium channel.

"Since REM sleep recruits mechanisms that can abolish or suppress tongue muscle activity during periods of REM sleep and cause obstructive sleep apnea, identification of a mechanism mediating this inhibition is a significant discovery," said Dr. Horner.

"This newly identified process has fundamental implications for understanding the common and serious problems of snoring and other breathing problems such as obstructive sleep apnea, which are worse in REM sleep," said Dr. Horner. "Moreover, identifying the fundamental mechanism responsible for the shutting down of a muscle in sleep that is critical for effective breathing also identifies a rational drug target designed to prevent this inactivity and so prevent obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep-related breathing problems."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Thoracic Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Thoracic Society. "Mechanism of breathing muscle 'paralysis' in dreaming sleep identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121116085208.htm>.
American Thoracic Society. (2012, November 16). Mechanism of breathing muscle 'paralysis' in dreaming sleep identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121116085208.htm
American Thoracic Society. "Mechanism of breathing muscle 'paralysis' in dreaming sleep identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121116085208.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins