Ambient temperature exerts a prominent influence on sleep. In rats and humans, low ambient temperatures generally impair sleep, whereas higher temperatures tend to promote sleep. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate sleep patterns and core body temperatures of C57BL/6J mice at ambient temperatures of 22, 26 and 30 degrees C under baseline conditions, after sleep deprivation (SD), and after infection with influenza virus. C57BL/6J mice were surgically implanted with electrodes for recording electroencephalogram (EEG) and electromyogram (EMG) and with intraperitoneal transmitters for recording core body temperature (T(c)) and locomotor activity. The data indicate that higher ambient temperatures (26 and 30 degrees C) promote spontaneous slow wave sleep (SWS) in association with reduced delta wave amplitude during SWS in C57BL/6J mice. Furthermore, higher ambient temperatures also promote recuperative sleep after SD. Thus, in mice, higher ambient temperatures reduced sleep depth under normal conditions, but augmented the recuperative response to sleep loss. Mice infected with influenza virus while maintained at 22 or 26 degrees C developed more SWS, less rapid eye movement sleep, lower locomotor activity and greater hypothermia than did mice maintained at 30 degrees C during infection. In addition, despite equivalent viral titers, mice infected with influenza virus at 30 degrees C showed less leucopenia and lower cytokine induction as compared with 22 and 26 degrees C, respectively, suggesting that less inflammation develops at the higher ambient temperature.
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