State-specific Effects of Sevoflurane Anesthesia on Sleep Homeostasis: Selective Recovery of Slow Wave but Not Rapid Eye Movement Sleep

Background: Prolonged propofol administration does not result in signs of sleep deprivation, and propofol anesthesia appears to satisfy the homeostatic need for both rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM (NREM) sleep. In the current study, the effects of sevoflurane on recovery from total sleep deprivation were investigated. Methods: Ten male rats were instrumented for electrophysiologic recordings under three conditions: (1) 36-h ad libitum sleep; (2) 12-h sleep deprivation followed by 24-h ad libitum sleep; and (3) 12-h sleep deprivation, followed by 6-h sevoflurane exposure, followed by 18-h ad libitum sleep. The percentage of waking, NREM sleep, and REM sleep, as well as NREM sleep δ power, were calculated and compared for all three conditions. Results: Total sleep deprivation resulted in significantly increased NREM and REM sleep for 12-h postdeprivation. Sevoflurane exposure after deprivation eliminated the homeostatic increase in NREM sleep and produced a significant decrease in the NREM sleep δ power during the postanesthetic period, indicating a complete recovery from the effects of deprivation. However, sevoflurane did not affect the time course of REM sleep recovery, which required 12 h after deprivation and anesthetic exposure. Conclusion: Unlike propofol, sevoflurane anesthesia has differential effects on NREM and REM sleep homeostasis. These data confirm the previous hypothesis that inhalational agents do not satisfy the homeostatic need for REM sleep, and that the relationship between sleep and anesthesia is likely to be agent and state specific.

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