Viral infections induce excess non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREMS) in mice. Growth hormone-releasing hormone receptor (GHRH receptor) was previously identified as a candidate gene responsible for NREMS responses to influenza challenge in mice. The dwarf lit/lit mouse with a nonfunctional GHRH receptor was used to assess the role of the GHRH receptor in viral-induced NREMS. After influenza A virus infection the duration and intensity [electroencephalogram (EEG) delta power] of NREMS increased in heterozygous mice with the normal phenotype, whereas NREMS and EEG delta power decreased in homozygous lit/lit mice. Lit/lit mice developed a pathological state with EEG slow waves and enhanced muscle tone. Other influenza-induced responses (decreases in rapid eye movement sleep, changes in the EEG high-frequency bands during the various stages of vigilance, hypothermia, and decreased motor activity) did not differ between the heterozygous and lit/lit mice. GH replacement failed to normalize the NREMS responses in the lit/lit mice after influenza inoculation. Decreases in NREMS paralleled hypothermia in the lit/lit mice. Lung virus levels were similar in the two mouse strains. Lit/lit mice had a higher death rate after influenza challenge than the heterozygotes. In conclusion, GHRH signaling is involved in the NREMS response to influenza infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)