Research Mentor(s): Christian Burgess
Authors: Yichuan Chen, Sarah Fechtali, Brandon Toth, PhD candidate, Christian Burgess, PhD
The ability to maintain attention and respond to stimuli in our environment is critical for daily life, however, poor sleep quality and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) can adversely affect attention. The orexin (OX) system is known to regulate arousal states and loss of OX neurons precipitates narcolepsy, a sleep disorder often characterized by EDS and disrupted nighttime sleep. OX neurons have reciprocal projections with norepinephrine (NE) neurons in the locus coeruleus, which themselves have an established role in attention and integration of sensory stimuli. However, how the loss of OX signaling impacts the ability to maintain attention when it is required, as well as the relationship between OX and NE release, is not fully understood. In the present study, we used in vivo fiber photometry for real time detection of NE in the hypothalamus of wildtype and OX deficient (OX KO) mice as they performed a modified rodent psychomotor vigilance task to evaluate the hypotheses that 1) OX KO mice have impaired attention relative to healthy controls and 2) that these deficits occur as a result of altered NE release.