Gene Variant That Controls Deep Sleep Identified

Adenosine system may play key role in brain activity in sleep, wakefulness

TUESDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A variation in a gene involved in adenosine metabolism seems to enhance deep sleep and slow-wave activity during sleep, according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Hans-Peter Landolt, Ph.D., of the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and colleagues found that people with a mutation in the adenosine deaminase gene, which reduces the metabolism of adenosine, had deeper sleep and fewer awakenings than those with the more common type of the gene.

The researchers also found that those with a mutation in the gene for the adenosine A2A receptor had altered brain wave patterns during sleep and wakefulness. The receptor has been associated with variations in anxiety response after caffeine consumption in healthy volunteers.

"Our findings indicate a direct role of adenosine in human sleep homeostasis," the authors write. "Moreover, our data suggest that genetic variability in the adenosinergic system contributes to the interindividual variability in brain electrical activity during sleep and wakefulness."

Full Text (payment may be required)

Physician's Briefing