The Role of Metabolic Genes in Sleep Regulation
Inadequate sleep is increasingly common in Western societies, which impacts human health and well-being. While the cognitive consequences of sleep loss are dramatic and great strides have been made uncovering how sleep loss influences cognitive performance, the deleterious effects of sleep loss do not end at the blood-brain barrier. Results from the last decade and a half highlight a clinically relevant link between adequate sleep and healthy metabolic function, and bring a new focus on the clinical burden that sleep deprivation is putting on both public and personal health. Inadequate sleep is associated with such current public health epidemics as obesity and insulin insensitivity, which are both symptoms of the "metabolic syndrome." On the other hand, alterations in traditional metabolic genes impact the quantity and quality of sleep as well as how an individual responds to sleep deprivation. Thus a reciprocal relationship exists between adequate sleep and healthy metabolic function. This relationship increases the opportunities to disrupt either system, but also increases potential targets to improve sleep.
The recognition of the scope and consequences of the metabolism-sleep interaction has increased in recent years. One prominent hypothesis posits that metabolic by-products of neuronal activity and energy stores (i.e. ATP and adenosine) govern sleep regulation and modulate sleep need. This hypothesis set an intriguing cornerstone for the role metabolism plays in sleep regulation. Recently, the number of metabolic genes that participate in sleep regulation has expanded and their contributions have led us to a new understanding of the interactions between sleep and metabolism. In this chapter, we will discuss both traditional metabolic genes that contribute to sleep regulation as well as candidate genes that may govern both systems independently. The interrelationship between sleep and metabolism spans from the endocrine and organismal level down to the cellular level. Unfortunately, due to citation limits, we have not been able to cite all of the vast number of researchers that have contributed to our growing understanding of how metabolism influences sleep regulation.
M. S. Thimgan and K. D. Schilli, "The Role of Metabolic Genes in Sleep Regulation," The Genetic Basis of Sleep and Sleep Disorders, pp. 91-103, Cambridge University Press, Jan 2006.
The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139649469.012
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