Neurophy Lab - Patricia Bonnavion

Patricia Bonnavion



Our research aims at understanding how the brain controls arousal states and how maladaptive changes in these brain circuits altering sleep and arousal relate to neuropsychiatric symptoms on motor control and cognitive abilities.

The importance of sleep for mental health is largely neglected. We need to gain a better understanding of the processes and circuits at play during sleep, to identify what underlies the impact they have on decision-making, mood, cognitive abilities and behavioral drifts, which can, for example, fuel anxiety-depressive disorders or lead to addictions.

We are studying the neural networks remaining active during sleep and contributing to arousal regulations. We examine their impact on behavior and learning, as well as their contribution to mental disorders. More specifically, we are interested in the roles of the striatum, the input nucleus of the basal ganglia, and its interactions with monoamines.

Our group employs a multidisciplinary approach in mouse models targeting these specific circuits in the brain using optogenetics, tracing tools, in vivo electrophysiology and in vivo imaging techniques in combination with behavioral tests to conduct both causal and correlative studies, in normal and pathological conditions.


Unexpected contributions of striatal projection neurons coexpressing dopamine D1 and D2 receptors in balancing motor control.
Bonnavion P., Varin C., Fakhfouri G., De Groote A., Cornil A., et al. Nature Neuroscience, 2024 in press.

The respective respective activation and silencing of striatal direct and indirect pathway neurons support behavior encoding.
Varin C., Cornil A., Houtteman D., Bonnavion P., de Kerchove d’Exaerde A. Nature Communication, 14 (1): 4982.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-40677-0


The GABAergic Gudden’s dorsal tegmental nucleus: a new relay for serotonergic regulation of sleep-wake behavior in the mouse.
Chazalon M., Dumas S., Bernard J.-F., Sahly I., Tronche F., deKerchove d’Exaerde A., Hamon M., Adrien J., Fabre V.*,  Bonnavion P.* Neuropharmarcology, 138:315-30, 2018. *co-last authors.
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2018.06.014 

Hypothalamic Tuberomammillary Nucleus Neurons: Electrophysiological Diversity and Essential Role in Arousal Stability.
Fujita A.*, Bonnavion P.*#, Wilson M.H., Mickelsen L.E., Bloit J., de Lecea L., Jackson A.C. Journal of Neuroscience, 37: 9574-92, 2017. *co-first, #co-corresponding authors.
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0580-17.2017 

Antagonistic interplay between hypocretin and leptin in the lateral hypothalamus regulates stress responses.
Bonnavion P.,  Jackson A.C., Carter M.C., de Lecea L. Nature Communication. 6: 6266, 2015.
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms7266 

A mechanism for Hypocretin-mediated sleep-to-wake transitions. 
Carter M.E., Brill J., Bonnavion P.,Huguenard J.R., Huerta R., de Lecea L. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. USA. 109(39): 2635-44, 2012.
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1202526109 

Heterogeneous distribution of the 5-HT1A receptor mRNA in chemically identified neurons of the mouse rostral brainstem.
Bonnavion P., Bernard J.-F., Hamon M., Adrien J., Fabre V. Journal of Comparative Neurology. 518(14): 2744-70, 2010.
DOI: 10.1002/cne.22331 

Book Chapters & Reviews:

Serotonin and Sleep.
Fabre, V., Krystal, A. & Bonnavion, P. Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine, 7th edition. Dement, W.C., Kryger M.H., Roth T. (Eds). Elsevier. (in press)

It takes two to tango: Dorsal direct and indirect pathways orchestration of motor learning and behavioral flexibility. 
Bonnavion,  P., Pozuelo Fernandez,  E., Varin,  C., de Kerchove d’Exaerde,  A. Neurochemistry international, 124, 200-214, 2019. 
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuint.2019.01.009 

Pharmacosynthetic Deconstruction of Sleep-Wake Circuits in the Brain. 
Varin,  C. & Bonnavion,  P. Handbook of experimental pharmacology, 253, 153-206, 2019.
DOI: 10.1007/164_2018_183 

Hubs and spokes of the lateral hypothalamus: cell types, circuits and behaviour. 
Bonnavion,  P., Mickelsen,  L.  L., Fujita,  A., De Lecea,  L., & Jackson,  A.  A. (2016). Journal of physiology, 594(22), 6443-6462, 2016.
DOI: 10.1113/JP271946