Behavioral and respiratory characteristics during sleep in neonatal DBA/2J and A/J mice

Alexander Balbir, Boris Lande, Robert S. Fitzgerald, Vsevolod Polotsky, Wayne Mitzner, Machiko Shirahata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The ventilatory response to hypoxia depends on the carotid body function and sleep-wake states. Therefore, the response must be measured in a consistent sleep-wake state. In mice, EMG with behavioral indices (coordinated movements, CMs; myoclonic twitches, MTs) has been used to assess sleep-wake states. However, in neonatal mice EMG instrumentation could induce stress, altering their behavior and ventilation. Accordingly, we examined: (1) if EMG can be eliminated for assessing sleep-wake states; and (2) behavioral characteristics and carotid body-mediated respiratory control during sleep with EMG (EMG+) or without EMG (EMG-). Seven-day-old DBA/2J and A/J mice were divided into EMG+ and EMG- groups. In both strains, CMs occurred when EMG was high; MTs were present during silent/low EMG activity. The durations of high EMG activity and of CMs were statistically indifferent. Thus, CMs can be used to indicate wake state without EMG. The stress caused by EMG instrumentation may be distinctively manifested based on genetic background. Prolonged agitation was observed in some EMG+ DBA/2J (5 of 13), but not in A/J mice. The sleep time and MT counts were indifferent between the groups in DBA/2J mice. The EMG+ A/J group showed longer sleep time and less MT counts than the EMG- A/J group. Mean respiratory variables (baseline, hyperoxic/hypoxic responses) were not severely influenced by EMG+ in either strain. Individual values were more variable in EMG+ mice. Carotid body-mediated respiratory responses (decreased ventilation upon hyperoxia and increased ventilation upon mild hypoxia) during sleep were clearly observed in these neonatal mice with or without EMG instrumentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-91
Number of pages8
JournalBrain research
StatePublished - Nov 19 2008


  • Carotid body
  • Control of breathing
  • Electromyogram
  • Hyperoxia
  • Hypoxia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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