Document Type


Publication Date



School of Medicine




Acute levodopa dosing around-the-clock ameliorates REM sleep without atonia in hemiparkinsonian rats

npj Parkinson's Disease volume 5, Article number: 27 (2019) Cite this article


Rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep without atonia (RSWA), a marker of REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), is frequently comorbid with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Although rodent models are commonly used for studying PD, the neurobiological and behavioral correlates of RBD remain poorly understood. Therefore, we developed a behavior-based criteria to identify RSWA in the hemiparkinsonian rat model of PD. Video recordings of rats were analyzed, to develop a criteria consisting of behavioral signs that occurred during polysomnographically confirmed epochs of sleep-wake stages. The sleep-slouch, a postural shift of the body or head caused only by gravity, was identified as a unique behavioral sign of REM sleep onset and was altered in hemiparkinsonian rats during RSWA. There was a significant correlation between the behavior-based criteria and polysomnograms for all sleep-wake stages in control but not hemiparkinsonian rats indicating a deterioration of sleep-wake architecture in parkinsonism. We then tested the efficacy of levodopa in ameliorating RSWA using intermittent and around-the-clock (ATC) dosing regimens. ATC levodopa dosing at 4 mg/kg for 48 h caused a significant reduction of RSWA as measured by polysomnography and the behavioral-based criteria along with an amelioration of forelimb motor deficits. Our findings show that the phenomenological correlates of RSWA can be reliably characterized in the hemiparkinsonian rat model. ATC levodopa administration ameliorates RSWA in this model without deleterious consequences to the overall sleep-wake architecture and therapeutic benefits for parkinsonian motor deficits. These findings suggest that further study may allow for the application of a similar approach to treat RBD in PD patients.

Source Citation

Iyer, V., Vo, Q., Mell, A., Chinniah, S., Zenerovitz, A., Venkiteswaran, K., Kunselman, A. R., Fang, J., & Subramanian, T. (2019). Acute levodopa dosing around-the-clock ameliorates REM sleep without atonia in hemiparkinsonian rats. Npj Parkinson’s Disease, 5(1).


Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons. org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Included in

Neurology Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.