Sleep Deprivation Increase Levels of Amyloid Beta in the Brain


Results published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS:published online April 9, 2018) suggest that missing even 1 night of sleep can affect levels of Amyloid-ß (Aß) in the brain. Previous studies have shown that sleep deprivation increased Aß levels in the cerebrospinal fluid; this is the first study published to have examined the effect of sleep loss on ß in the brain. Levels of Aß were measured using PET and 18F-florbetaben, which is a radiotracer that binds predominantly to insoluble Aβ plaques and also to soluble Aβ.

Of note, is that 1 night of sleep deprivation significantly increased levels of Aß compared to baseline in the hippocampus and thalamus, both areas implicated in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathophysiology. Subjects in the study were healthy individuals aged 22 to 72 years (n = 20; 10 men and 10 women), and 19 of 20 had a mean increase of 5% from baseline (P = .001). Increases in Aß did not correlate with sex, age, or APOe4 status, but did correlate with a sleep deprivation-associated negative effect on mood.

The authors, Ehsan Shokri-Kojori, Gene-Jack Wang, Corinde E. Wiers, and others conclude that good sleep hygiene is important for proper brain function and may be a potential target for prevention of AD.


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