Genetic and immunologic aspects of sleep and sleep disorders

James M. Parish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The study of genetics is providing new and exciting insights into the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Both normal sleep and several types of sleep disturbances have been found to have significant genetic influences, as have traits of normal sleep, such as those evident in EEG patterns and the circadian sleep-wake cycle. The circadian sleep-wake cycle is based on a complex feedback loop of genetic transcription over a 24-h cycle. Restless legs syndrome (RLS) and periodic limb movements in sleep (PLMS) have familial aggregation, and several genes have a strong association with them. Recent genome-wide association studies have identified single nucleotide polymorphisms linked to RLS/PLMS, although none has a definite functional correlation. Narcolepsy/cataplexy are associated with HLA DQB1*0602 and a T-cell receptor a locus, although functional correlations have not been evident. Obstructive sleep apnea is a complex disorder involving multiple traits, such as anatomy of the oropharynx, ventilatory control, and traits associated with obesity. Although there is clear evidence of familial aggregation in the obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, no specific gene or locus has been identified for it. Angiotensin-converting enzyme has been proposed as a risk variant, but evidence is weak. Fatal familial insomnia and advanced sleep phase syndrome are sleep disorders with a definite genetic basis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1489-1499
Number of pages11
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic and immunologic aspects of sleep and sleep disorders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this