Sieben Nächte mit maximal sechs Stunden Schlaf pro Nacht wirken nach Angaben der Wissenschaftler auf insgesamt 711 Gene ein. Das sind 3,1 Prozent der etwa 23 000 Gene, die in der menschlichen Erbsubstanz stecken. Betroffen waren vor allem Gene, die für Entzündungen, Immunantworten und Stressreaktionen verantwortlich sind.

Damit wurde erstmals untersucht, wie viele Gene insgesamt von chronischem Schlafmangel beeinflusst werden, bisherige Studien haben sich nur auf einzelne Gene konzentriert.

Effects of insufficient sleep on circadian rhythmicity and expression amplitude of the human blood transcriptome

Insufficient sleep and circadian rhythm disruption are associated with negative health outcomes, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cognitive impairment, but the mechanisms involved remain largely unexplored. Twenty-six participants were exposed to 1 wk of insufficient sleep (sleep-restriction condition 5.70 h, SEM = 0.03 sleep per 24 h) and 1 wk of sufficient sleep (control condition 8.50 h sleep, SEM = 0.11). Immediately following each condition, 10 whole-blood RNA samples were collected from each participant, while controlling for the effects of light, activity, and food, during a period of total sleep deprivation. Transcriptome analysis revealed that 711 genes were up- or down-regulated by insufficient sleep.
Insufficient sleep also reduced the number of genes with a circadian expression profile from 1,855 to 1,481, reduced the circadian amplitude of these genes, and led to an increase in the number of genes that responded to subsequent total sleep deprivation from 122 to 856. Genes affected by insufficient sleep were associated with circadian rhythms (PER1, PER2, PER3, CRY2, CLOCK, NR1D1, NR1D2, RORA, DEC1, CSNK1E), sleep homeostasis (IL6, STAT3, KCNV2, CAMK2D), oxidative stress (PRDX2, PRDX5), and metabolism (SLC2A3, SLC2A5, GHRL, ABCA1). Biological processes affected included chromatin modification, gene-expression regulation, macromolecular metabolism, and inflammatory, immune and stress responses. Thus, insufficient sleep affects the human blood transcriptome, disrupts its circadian regulation, and intensifies the effects of acute total sleep deprivation. The identified biological processes may be involved with the negative effects of sleep loss on health, and highlight the interrelatedness of sleep homeostasis,
circadian rhythmicity, and metabolism.

Bildquelle: ©Ramona.Forcella – flickr.com