Chronic escitalopram treatment attenuated the accelerated rapid eye movement sleep transitions after selective rapid eye movement sleep deprivation: A model-based analysis using Markov chains

Diána Kostyalik, Szilvia Vas, Zita Kátai, Tamás Kitka, István Gyertyán, Gyorgy Bagdy, László Tóthfalusi

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Shortened rapid eye movement (REM) sleep latency and increased REM sleep amount are presumed biological markers of depression. These sleep alterations are also observable in several animal models of depression as well as during the rebound sleep after selective REM sleep deprivation (RD). Furthermore, REM sleep fragmentation is typically associated with stress procedures and anxiety. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants reduce REM sleep time and increase REM latency after acute dosing in normal condition and even during REM rebound following RD. However, their therapeutic outcome evolves only after weeks of treatment, and the effects of chronic treatment in REM-deprived animals have not been studied yet. Results: Chronic escitalopram- (10 mg/kg/day, osmotic minipump for 24 days) or vehicle-treated rats were subjected to a 3-day-long RD on day 21 using the flower pot procedure or kept in home cage. On day 24, fronto-parietal electroencephalogram, electromyogram and motility were recorded in the first 2 h of the passive phase. The observed sleep patterns were characterized applying standard sleep metrics, by modelling the transitions between sleep phases using Markov chains and by spectral analysis. Conclusion: In conclusion, chronic SSRI treatment is capable of reducing several effects on sleep which might be the consequence of the sub-chronic stress caused by the flower pot method. These data might support the antidepressant activity of SSRIs, and may allude that investigating the rebound period following the flower pot protocol could be useful to detect antidepressant drug response. Markov analysis is a suitable method to study the sleep pattern.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120
JournalBMC neuroscience
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 19 2014



  • Animal model
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • EEG
  • Markov chain model
  • REM sleep deprivation
  • REM sleep fragmentation
  • Serotonin
  • Stage transition
  • Theta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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