Cholinergic neurotransmission has unique relevance for mental health. Acetylcholine (ACh) plays a key role in generating the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep, and REM sleep abnormalities typify some forms of depression. ACh is important for generating the cortical activation needed for attentional, learning, and memory functions of normal wakefulness, and schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are characterized by alterations in cortical activity and by sleep disruption. The health relatedness of this research program is clear from the facts that: 1) sleep disruption is a feature of all psychiatric diseases;2) some clinical traits of depression are caused by altered cholinergic neurotransmission;and 3) altered cholinergic transmission contributes to the cognitive deficits of schizophrenia. Relevance to public health is evidenced by World Health Organization data reporting that 450 million people worldwide suffer from some form of mental or brain disorder, and that in the West mental disorders account for 80% of premature deaths in young adults. The long-term objectives of this research program are to identify modulators of cholinergic neurotransmission in brain regions that regulate sleep and wakefulness. Methods include: 1) in vivo microdialysis and microinjection for drug delivery to selective brain regions and for collecting endogenously released neurotransmitters;2) high performance liquid chromatography and capillary electrophoresis to measure changes in endogenous neurotransmitters caused by antipsychotic drugs;and 3) polygraphic recordings of the cortical electroencephalogram to quantify sleep and wakefulness. These techniques will be used to achieve four specific aims relevant for the NIMH mission to reduce the burden of mental illness through brain research. Specifically, the aims were developed in recognition of the NIMH Director's statement acknowledging the need for translational research contributing to the development of new medications that will more effectively treat people suffering from schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder ( ).
Aim 1 will test the hypothesis that atypical antipsychotics, such as olanzapine, alter cholinergic transmission in the prefrontal cortex.
Aim 2 will test the hypothesis that the increase in wakefulness caused by hypocretin (orexin) is mediated, in part, by GABAergic transmission in the pontine reticular formation.
Aim 3 will test the hypothesis that GABAergic and cholinergic transmission in the pontine reticular formation interact to regulate levels of arousal.
Aim 4 will test the hypothesis that GABA and glutamate levels in the pontine reticular formation change in a reciprocal fashion during sleep and wakefulness.
The aims are unified by their ability to provide insights into the neurochemical mechanisms modulating cholinergic neurotransmission in brain regions regulating sleep and wakefulness.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award (R37)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (NSS)
Program Officer
Vicentic, Aleksandra
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Schools of Medicine
Ann Arbor
United States
Zip Code
Zhang, Hao; Wheat, Heather; Wang, Peter et al. (2016) RGS Proteins and G?i2 Modulate Sleep, Wakefulness, and Disruption of Sleep/ Wake States after Isoflurane and Sevoflurane Anesthesia. Sleep 39:393-404
Garrity, Abigail G; Botta, Simhadri; Lazar, Stephanie B et al. (2015) Dexmedetomidine-induced sedation does not mimic the neurobehavioral phenotypes of sleep in Sprague Dawley rat. Sleep 38:73-84
Filbey, William A; Sanford, David T; Baghdoyan, Helen A et al. (2014) Eszopiclone and dexmedetomidine depress ventilation in obese rats with features of metabolic syndrome. Sleep 37:871-80
Vanini, Giancarlo; Nemanis, Kriste; Baghdoyan, Helen A et al. (2014) GABAergic transmission in rat pontine reticular formation regulates the induction phase of anesthesia and modulates hyperalgesia caused by sleep deprivation. Eur J Neurosci 40:2264-73
Watson, S L; Watson, C J; Baghdoyan, H A et al. (2014) Adenosine A? receptors in mouse pontine reticular formation modulate nociception only in the presence of systemic leptin. Neuroscience 275:531-9
Hambrecht-Wiedbusch, Viviane S; Mitchell, Melinda F; Firn, Kelsie A et al. (2014) Benzodiazepine site agonists differentially alter acetylcholine release in rat amygdala. Anesth Analg 118:1293-300
Gettys, George C; Liu, Fang; Kimlin, Ed et al. (2013) Adenosine A(1) receptors in mouse pontine reticular formation depress breathing, increase anesthesia recovery time, and decrease acetylcholine release. Anesthesiology 118:327-36
Vanini, Giancarlo; Baghdoyan, Helen A (2013) Extrasynaptic GABAA receptors in rat pontine reticular formation increase wakefulness. Sleep 36:337-43
Watson, Christopher J; Baghdoyan, Helen A; Lydic, Ralph (2012) Neuropharmacology of Sleep and Wakefulness: 2012 Update. Sleep Med Clin 7:469-486
Vanini, Giancarlo; Lydic, Ralph; Baghdoyan, Helen A (2012) GABA-to-ACh ratio in basal forebrain and cerebral cortex varies significantly during sleep. Sleep 35:1325-34

Showing the most recent 10 out of 27 publications