Proceedings of The Physiological Society

Sleep Sleep and Circadian Rhythms (London, UK) (2018) Proc Physiol Soc 42, SA01

Research Symposium

Neural circuits in sleep and anaesthesia

N. Franks1

1. Imperial College, London, United Kingdom.


Putting a patient to sleep has been used as a metaphor for drug-induced sedation and anaesthesia ever since general anaesthetics were first used clinically during the 1840s. Only relatively recently, however, has the possibility that general anaesthetics may act, at least in part, by affecting some of the natural pathways of sleep and arousal, been investigated in detail. I will discuss some of the evidence that sleep and anaesthesia may affect common neuronal pathways, and then go on the describe experiments showing that overlapping ensembles of neurons in the hypothalamus are involved in both deep sleep and drug-induced sedation, and that the same networks may also be responsible for the hypothermia seen in both states.

Where applicable, experiments conform with Society ethical requirements