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Alcohol Clin Exp Res 1996 May;20(3):543-550

Quantitative trait locus analyses of sleep-times induced by sedative-hypnotics in LSXSS recombinant inbred strains of mice.

Christensen SC, Johnson TE, Markel PD, Clark VJ, Fulker DW, Corley RP, Collins AC, Wehner JM

Department of Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder 80309-0447, USA.

The long-sleep (LS) and short-sleep (SS) selected lines of mice show highly significant differences in sleep-time for many sedative-hypnotic drugs, and the quantitative genetic nature of these differences has been well-established. Using an interval-mapping approach, quantitative trait locus (QTL) analyses of LSXSS recombinant inbred (RI) strains have been applied to sleep-time responses for various classes of sedative-hypnotic drugs: alcohols (ethanol, n-propanol, and n-butanol), the atypical anesthetic chloral hydrate, barbiturates (pentobarbital and secobarbital), and benzodiazepines (chlordiazepoxide and flurazepam). Several provisional QTLs were mapped to similar locations within and between drug classes, suggesting that some common loci are involved in sleep-times elicited by these drugs. Consistent with correlations of strain mean sleep-times between drugs tested in the LSXSS recombinant inbred strains, the number of provisional QTLs mapping to the locations of highest significance for ethanol decreases when the lipid solubility of a particular drug becomes less similar to that of ethanol. Provisional QTLs mapped for the benzodiazepines, however, revealed considerable overlap with those mapped for ethanol, although these drugs represented the most lipid-soluble category of sedative-hypnotics tested. Provisional QTLs for pentobarbital and secobarbital differed from most of those mapped for the alcohols, which supports the hypothesis that alcohols and barbiturates exert their effects mainly through different biological mechanisms in the LS and SS lines. Blood ethanol concentrations at regaining the righting reflex also mapped to several provisional QTLs corresponding to ethanol-induced sleep-times that support the contention that sleep-time is a reasonable index of the observed differences in central nervous system sensitivities to ethanol between LS and SS mice.