Sleep deprivation reveals altered brain perfusion patterns in somnambulism
Article [Version of Record]
Is part ofPLoS one ; vol. 10, no. 8.
Publisher(s)Public Library of Science
BACKGROUND: Despite its high prevalence, relatively little is known about the pathophysiology of somnambulism. Increasing evidence indicates that somnambulism is associated with functional abnormalities during wakefulness and that sleep deprivation constitutes an important drive that facilitates sleepwalking in predisposed patients. Here, we studied the neural mechanisms associated with somnambulism using Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) with 99mTc-Ethylene Cysteinate Dimer (ECD), during wakefulness and after sleep deprivation. METHODS: Ten adult sleepwalkers and twelve controls with normal sleep were scanned using 99mTc-ECD SPECT in morning wakefulness after a full night of sleep. Eight of the sleepwalkers and nine of the controls were also scanned during wakefulness after a night of total sleep deprivation. Between-group comparisons of regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) were performed to characterize brain activity patterns during wakefulness in sleepwalkers. RESULTS: During wakefulness following a night of total sleep deprivation, rCBF was decreased bilaterally in the inferior temporal gyrus in sleepwalkers compared to controls. CONCLUSIONS: Functional neural abnormalities can be observed during wakefulness in somnambulism, particularly after sleep deprivation and in the inferior temporal cortex. Sleep deprivation thus not only facilitates the occurrence of sleepwalking episodes, but also uncovers patterns of neural dysfunction that characterize sleepwalkers during wakefulness.