Media ReleaseFrom: PNAS
Sleep deprivation and beta-amyloid in humans
Researchers report links between sleep deprivation (SD) and beta-amyloid (Aβ) in the human brain. Aβ, a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), is found in the interstitial fluid of the human brain. In mice, elevated Aβ has been associated with SD, but the effects of SD on Aβ burden (ABB) in the human brain remain understudied. Ehsan Shokri-Kojori and colleagues examined the effects of SD on ABB in 20 healthy participants, 22-72 years of age. Using positron emission tomography, the authors measured ABB in the participants after 1 night of rested sleep and 1 night of SD. The analysis revealed that SD was associated with a significant increase in ABB, compared with rested sleep, in the participants. Specifically, ABB increases were observed in the right hippocampus and thalamus, brain regions implicated in AD. The authors suggest that the regional increases in ABB might be linked to decreased clearance of Aβ by the glymphatic system. Additionally, SD-related increases in ABB were associated with mood worsening in the participants, including increased tiredness and difficulty staying awake following SD. The findings highlight the effects of sleep on brain function and might be relevant to AD neuropathology, according to the authors.