Sleep and Microdialysis: An Experiment and a Systematic Review of Histamine and Several Amino Acids

Cathalijn H C Leenaars, W H Pim Drinkenburg, Christ Nolten, Maurice Dematteis, Ruud N J M A Joosten, Matthijs G P Feenstra, Rob B M De Vries

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Sleep seems essential to proper functioning of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The role of different neurotransmitters has been studied, mainly the catecholamines and serotonin. Less attention has been paid to the amino acid transmitters and histamine. Here, we focus on the activity of these molecules in the PFC during sleep and sleep deprivation (SD). We determined extracellular concentrations of histamine and 8 amino acids in the medial PFC before, during and after SD. Additionally, we systematically reviewed the literature on studies reporting microdialysis measurements relating to sleep throughout the brain. In our experiment, median concentrations of glutamate were higher during SD than during baseline (p = 0.013) and higher during the dark-active than during the resting phase (p = 0.003). Glutamine was higher during post-SD recovery than during baseline (p = 0.010). For other compounds, no differences were observed between light and dark circadian phase, and between sleep deprivation, recovery and baseline. We retrieved 13 papers reporting on one or more of the molecules of interest during naturally occurring sleep, 2 during sleep deprivation and 2 during both. Only two studies targeted PFC. Histamine was low during sleep, but high during sleep deprivation and wakefulness, irrespective of brain area. Glu (k = 11) and GABA (k = 8) concentrations in different brain areas were reported to peak during sleep or wakefulness or to lack state-dependency. Aspartate, glycine, asparagine and taurine were less often studied (1-2 times), but peaked exclusively during sleep. Sleep deprivation increased glutamate and GABA exclusively in the cortex. Further studies are needed for drawing solid conclusions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number7
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Circadian Rhythms
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019


    • amino acids
    • proline
    • microdialysis
    • prefrontal cortex
    • sleep
    • systematic review
    • glutamate
    • glutamine
    • glycine
    • aspartate
    • asparagine
    • GABA
    • histamine
    • Taurine
    • Proline


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