Le bâillement, du réflexe à la pathologie

mise à jour
25 juillet 2002
Physiology Behavior
Effects of stress on drug induced yawning :
constant vs intermittent stress
Tufik S, De Luca Nathan C, Neuman B, Hipolide DC et al.
department of psychobiology, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Bresil
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Introduction : For many years our group has been evaluating the behavioral and neuropharmacological consequences of paradoxical sleep (PS) deprivation. The single platform technique, developed by Jouvet et al., induces an increase in both relative and absolute adrenal weights and in plasma corticosterone levels (data not published), indicating its stressful nature. Moreover, several of the techniques employed for PS deprivation possess in their nature some sort or degree of stress. In an attempt to investigate the influence of stress on the effects of PS deprivation technique, Silva et al. exposed rats to four different manipulations: PS deprivation, immobilization, forced swimming, and foot shock for 3 days. Following this period, apomorphine-induced aggressiveness was compared among the groups. Increased aggressiveness was observed in PS deprivation and foot shock groups.
Among the behaviors altered by PS deprivation, yawning is particularly interesting, because it can be elicited by several cholinergic (AChergic) agonists, by low doses of dopaminergic (DAergic) agonists, and polypeptides such as a-MSH and ACTH, suggesting there are different neurotransmitter systems involved in the modulation of this behavior.
Ninety-six h of PS deprivation result in an almost complete suppression of yawning induced by DAergic and AChergic agonists. Since activity of both neurotransmitter systems is also altered by stress we examined the effects of other widely used stressors on drug-induced yawning. Animals were chronically exposed to immobilization, forced swimming or mescapable shock (Experiment 1 ) or acutely submitted to forced swimming or inescapable shock (Experiment 2). Following stress exposure, yawning induced by DAergic and AChergic drugs was evaluated. [...]
Discussion : The results of the prescrit study show that immobilization was the only stressor that consistently suppressed drug-induced yawning. Chronic foot shock and swimming, on contrary, promoted an increase or no change in number of yawns. This effect was not due to the last stress session, as shown by results of Experiment 2, in which acute exposure to the latter stressors did not result in change of yawning frequency. Evidence from our and other laboratories suggests that constant chronic stress suppresses drug-induced yawning, regardless the modality of stress. Thus, PS deprivation induced by the single platform technique suppresses apomorphine, pilocarpine, and physostigmine-induced yawning, suggesting this manipulation renders both DAergic presynaptic and AChergic postsynaptic receptors subsensitive to their agonists. Nunes Jr. et al. PS deprived rats using the multiple platform technique (in this case, 10 animals are placed on top of 18 platforms, 6 cm wide, placed 10 cm apart, inside a large water tank, which dimensions are 125 x 45 X 36 cm, thus enabling the animals to jump from one plarform to another), therefore preventing immobilization and social isolation. Yet, the authors replicated the effects of the single platformi technique-induced deprivation on yawning behavior. In addition, Bourson and Moser reported suppression of apomorphine- and physostigmine-induced yawning in animals isolated for 7 days.
Based on the above mentioned results it is possible to hypothesize that to suppress drug-induced yawning, animals must be exposed to stress in a constant fashion. To reinforce this notion, in the present study, chronic foot shock and swimming were employed intermittently during 96 h and resulted in increased or no change ni number of yawns. It appears as though existence of interstressor intervals differentially modulates neuronal and neuroendocrine functions.Yawning is believed to be mediated by a balance between DAergic and AChergic neurons . The former, most likely the nigrostriatal pathway, exerts an inhibitory action on the latter, most likely striatal AChergic neurons. Thus, yawning is elicited by low doses of aponiorphine (probably acting at presynaptic receptor level) and AChergic drugs that act at the postsynaptic receptor. It has been demonstrated that both acute and chronic intermittent stress result in increase of ACh release and of high affinity choline uptake by presynaptic membranes of' the septo-hippocampal system, a system believed to be involved in yawning behavior.
However, augmented binding of muscarinic AChergic receptors can be observed only after chronic intermittent stress. A downregulation of M2 muscarinic receptors was demonstrated following 96 h of PS deprivation by the multiple platform technique. Acute stress, and even acute treatment with ACTH and corticosterone do not produce changes in receptor binding, although increased sensitivity, but not number, of muscarmic receptors is reported at 1 and 48 h following a 2 h immobilization period in some brain regions. Overail, the data suggest that changes in receptor sensitivity require longer exposure to stress and/or longer time span between stress onset and functional evaluation of these receptors, since we did not find changes in yawning 6 h following 1 h of either foot shock or swimming (Exp. 2). We cannot ignore, however, that failure in showing statistical differences in Exp. 2 could be due to differences in control groups among time intervals, Within the framework- of' the present experiment is not possible to explain such differences.
In conclusion, the results of the present study indicate yawning can be altered in a stressor-specific manner. Immobilization, the only stressor to which animals were constantly exposed, was also the only one that resulted in yawning suppression. An opposite effect was observed following stressors in which long intersession intervals were present.
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