Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder in humans is often accompanied by a reduced ability to smell and detect odors, and olfactory bulbectomized rats exhibit increased REM sleep, suggesting that the olfactory bulb (OB) is involved in REM-sleep regulation. However, the molecular mechanism of REM-sleep regulation by the OB is unknown. Adenosine promotes sleep and its A2A receptors (A2AR) are expressed in the OB. We hypothesized that A2AR in the OB regulate REM sleep. Bilateral microinjections of the A2AR antagonist SCH58261 into the rat OB increased REM sleep, whereas microinjections of the A2AR agonist CGS21680 decreased REM sleep. Similar to the A2AR antagonist, selective A2AR knockdown by adeno-associated virus carrying short-hairpin RNA for A2AR in the rat OB increased REM sleep. Using chemogenetics on the basis of designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs, we demonstrated that the inhibition of A2AR neurons increased REM sleep, whereas the activation of these neurons decreased REM sleep. Moreover, using a conditional anterograde axonal tract-tracing approach, we found that OB A2AR neurons innervate the piriform cortex and olfactory tubercle. These novel findings indicate that adenosine suppresses REM sleep via A2AR in the OB of rodents.
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