Genetically increased risk of sleep disruption in alzheimer's disease

David Craig, Dominic J Hart, A Peter Passmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


STUDY OBJECTIVES: To investigate the role of a monoamine A oxidase promoter polymorphism in sleep disruption in Alzheimer's disease (AD). DESIGN: A case-control association analysis. SETTING: Sleep disturbance in AD is common, is extremely stressful for caregivers, and increases the risk of institutionalisation. It remains unclear why only some patients develop sleep disturbance; neuropathologic changes of AD are not typically seen in the areas of the brain responsible for sleep. We hypothesized that the risk of sleep disturbance is, at least in part, influenced by the availability of serotonin used for melatonin synthesis secondary to polymorphic variation at the enzyme monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A). PATIENTS: Patients with AD diagnosed according to standard criteria. INTERVENTIONS: Data were collected using the Sleep domain of the Neuropsychiatric Inventory with Caregiver Distress. Patients' cognition and function were assessed using the Mini-Mental State Examination and the Functional Assessment Staging. Genotyping of apolipoprotein E (APOE) and of the 30 bp variable number tandem repeat of the MAO-A promoter was by standard methods. MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: Of 426 patients surveyed, 54% experienced sleep disturbance. We found that the high-activity 4-repeat allele of the MAO-A VNTR promoter polymorphism confers increased susceptibility to sleep disturbance (p = .008). A quantitative sleep disturbance score was significantly higher in the patients possessing MAO-A 4-repeat allele genotypes. APOE had no influence on the development of an altered sleep phenotype. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that sleep disturbance in AD is common and distressing and is associated with genetic variation at MAO-A.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1003-1007
Number of pages5
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2006


Dive into the research topics of 'Genetically increased risk of sleep disruption in alzheimer's disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this