Upper airway motor activity associated with rapid eye movement sleep in mice

Takeaway

  • Activation of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurons in the ventral medulla (VM) inhibits hypoglossal motoneurons (HMs) and tongue activity through a pathway to both protruder genioglossus (GMNs) and retractor (RMNs) muscles; this pathway may be involved in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Why this matters

  • Rapid eye movement (REM) activates GABA neurons in the VM to induce skeletal muscle atonia; however, the role of the VM in modulating hypoglossal motor activity is unknown.

  • Understanding the neural mechanisms of REM may lead to improvements in clinical outcomes for people with OSA.