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Trauma exposure and sleep: using a rodent model to understand sleep function in PTSD

Abstract

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by intrusive memories of a traumatic event, avoidance behavior related to cues of the trauma, emotional numbing, and hyper-arousal. Sleep abnormalities and nightmares are core symptoms of this disorder. In this review, we propose a model which implicates abnormal activity in the locus coeruleus (LC), an important modifier of sleep–wake regulation, as the source of sleep abnormalities and memory abnormalities seen in PTSD. Abnormal LC activity may be playing a key role in symptom formation in PTSD via sleep dysregulation and suppression of hippocampal bidirectional plasticity.

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Fig. 1
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Abbreviations

LC:

Locus coeruleus

PTSD:

Post-traumatic stress disorder

NA:

Noradrenaline, also known as norepinephrine (NE)

REM:

Rapid eye movement sleep, also known as paradoxical sleep (PS) and active sleep (AS) in the literature

LTP:

Long-term potentiation

PFC:

Prefrontal cortex

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Correspondence to Gina R. Poe.

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Vanderheyden, W.M., Poe, G.R. & Liberzon, I. Trauma exposure and sleep: using a rodent model to understand sleep function in PTSD. Exp Brain Res 232, 1575–1584 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-014-3890-4

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Keywords

  • Sleep
  • PTSD
  • Locus coeruleus