“We found out that the reason an association between the expression of the gene, HLA DQB1, which is associated with narcolepsy in specific regions, and the number of awakening and index of awakening, and this association was quite robust through the whole brain regions and it was negative which means that the more the gene is expressed in these regions, the lower number of awakening you have while sleeping.”
Since the expression of sleep genes in various parts of the brain may be related to sleep regulation is unknown, researchers attempted to predict gene expression in different tissues through a novel genetic tool in order to assess the association between regional sleep genes brain expression and sleep in young adults.

Investigators recorded sleep electroencephalography during an 8-hour baseline sleep in 200 healthy young male volunteers without any sleep disorders and collected blood samples to assess common Single Nucleotides Polymorphisms (SNPs) throughout the entire genome. The investigators also predicted the expression of 101 sleep genes in 9 different human brain tissues based on common SNPs.

The preliminary results found that the whole genome information can be used to assess the association between the predicted gene expression in different parts of the brain and sleep. The results suggest that the location where genes are expressed in the brain impact variability in sleep.

To further explore the results, NeurologyLive spoke with Pouya Ghaemmaghami, PhD, postdoctoral researcher, University of Liège, in an exclusive interview.