Interleukin-18 promotes sleep in rabbits and rats.
Interleukin (IL)-1beta is involved in physiological sleep regulation. IL-18 is a member of the IL-1 family, and its signal-transduction mechanism is similar to that of IL-1. Therefore, we hypothesized that IL-18 might also be involved in sleep regulation. Three doses of IL-18 (10, 100, and 500 ng) were injected intracerebroventricularly (icv) into rabbits at the onset of the dark period. The two higher doses of IL-18 markedly increased non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREMS), accompanied by increases in brain temperature (Tbr). These effects were lost after the heat inactivation of IL-18. The 500 ng of IL-18 injection during the light period also increased NREMS and Tbr. Similar results were obtained after icv injection of 100 ng of IL-18 into rats. Furthermore, intraperitoneal injection of 30 microg/kg of IL-18 slightly, but significantly, increased NREMS, whereas it significantly decreased electroencephalogram slow-wave activity in rats. Intraperitoneal IL-18 failed to induce fever. An anti-human IL-18 antibody had little effect on spontaneous sleep in rabbits, although the anti-IL-18 antibody significantly attenuated muramyl dipeptide-induced sleep. These data suggest that IL-18 is involved in mechanisms of sleep responses to infection.