Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mouse study suggests sleep problems may be early Alzheimer's sign

Date:
September 5, 2012
Source:
Washington University in St. Louis
Summary:
Sleep disruptions may be among the earliest indicators of Alzheimer’s disease, scientists report.

Sleep disruptions may be among the earliest indicators of Alzheimer's disease, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report Sept. 5 in Science Translational Medicine.

Related Articles


Working in a mouse model, the researchers found that when the first signs of Alzheimer's plaques appear in the brain, the normal sleep-wake cycle is significantly disrupted.

"If sleep abnormalities begin this early in the course of human Alzheimer's disease, those changes could provide us with an easily detectable sign of pathology," says senior author David M. Holtzman, MD, the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and head of Washington University's Department of Neurology. "As we start to treat Alzheimer's patients before the onset of dementia, the presence or absence of sleep problems may be a rapid indicator of whether the new treatments are succeeding."

Holtzman's laboratory was among the first to link sleep problems and Alzheimer's through studies of sleep in mice genetically altered to develop Alzheimer's plaques as they age. In a study published in 2009, he showed that brain levels of a primary ingredient of the plaques naturally rise when healthy young mice are awake and drop after they go to sleep. Depriving the mice of sleep disrupted this cycle and accelerated the development of brain plaques.

A similar rising and falling of the plaque component, a protein called amyloid beta, was later detected in the cerebrospinal fluid of healthy humans studied by co-author Randall Bateman, MD, the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Distinguished Professor of Neurology at Washington University.

The new research, led by Jee Hoon Roh, MD, PhD, a neurologist and postdoctoral fellow in Holtzman's laboratory, shows that when the first indicators of brain plaques appear, the natural fluctuations in amyloid beta levels stop in both mice and humans.

"We suspect that the plaques are pulling in amyloid beta, removing it from the processes that would normally clear it from the brain," Holtzman says.

Mice are nocturnal animals and normally sleep for 40 minutes during every hour of daylight, but when Alzheimer's plaques began forming in their brains, their average sleep times dropped to 30 minutes per hour.

To confirm that amyloid beta was directly linked to the changes in sleep, researchers gave a vaccine against amyloid beta to a new group of mice with the same genetic modifications. As these mice grew older, they did not develop brain plaques. Their sleeping patterns remained normal and amyloid beta levels in the brain continued to rise and fall regularly.

Scientists now are evaluating whether sleep problems occur in patients who have markers of Alzheimer's disease, such as plaques in the brain, but have not yet developed memory or other cognitive problems.

"If these sleep problems exist, we don't yet know exactly what form they take -- reduced sleep overall or trouble staying asleep or something else entirely," Holtzman says. "But we're working to find out."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University in St. Louis. The original article was written by Michael C. Purdy. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. H. Roh, Y. Huang, A. W. Bero, T. Kasten, F. R. Stewart, R. J. Bateman, D. M. Holtzman. Disruption of the Sleep-Wake Cycle and Diurnal Fluctuation of  -Amyloid in Mice with Alzheimer's Disease Pathology. Science Translational Medicine, 2012; 4 (150): 150ra122 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3004291

Cite This Page:

Washington University in St. Louis. "Mouse study suggests sleep problems may be early Alzheimer's sign." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120905141614.htm>.
Washington University in St. Louis. (2012, September 5). Mouse study suggests sleep problems may be early Alzheimer's sign. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120905141614.htm
Washington University in St. Louis. "Mouse study suggests sleep problems may be early Alzheimer's sign." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120905141614.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins