|Part of||Brainstem (Medulla oblongata)|
|Anatomical terms of neuroanatomy|
The parafacial zone (PZ) is a brain structure located within the medulla oblongata which contains GABAergic neurons and is involved in slow-wave sleep. It is one of several GABAergic sleep-promoting nuclei in the brain, which are also located in the ventrolateral preoptic area of the hypothalamus and in a compartment within the lateral hypothalamus.
In the present study we show, for the first time, that activation of a delimited node of GABAergic neurons located in the medullary PZ can potently initiate SWS and cortical SWA in behaving animals. ... For now however it remains unclear if the PZ is interconnected with other sleep- and wake-promoting nodes beyond the wake-promoting PB. ... The intensity of cortical slow-wave-activity (SWA: 0.5-4Hz) during SWS is also widely accepted as a reliable indicator of sleep need ... In conclusion, in the present study we demonstrated that all polygraphic and neurobehavioral manifestation of SWS, including SWA, can be initiated in behaving animals by the selective activation of a delimited node of GABAergic medullary neurons.
Sleep is regulated by GABAergic populations in both the preoptic area and the brainstem; increasing evidence suggests a role for the melanin-concentrating hormone cells of the lateral hypothalamus and the parafacial zone of the brainstem
The sleep-promoting action of GABAergic neurons located in the preoptic hypothalamus (6-8) is now well-known and accepted (9). More recently, other groups of sleep-promoting GABAergic neurons in the lateral hypothalamus (melanin-concentrating hormone neurons) and brainstem [parafacial zone; (10)] have been identified.