HLA DQB1*0602 is found in most individuals with hypocretin-deficient narcolepsy, a disorder characterized by a severe disruption of sleep and wake. Population studies indicate that DQB1*0602 may also be associated with normal phenotypic variation of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Disruption of REM sleep has been linked to specific symptoms of insomnia. We here examine the relationship of sleep and DQB1*0602 in older individuals (n=46) with primary insomnia, using objective (polysomnography, wrist actigraphy) and subjective (logs, scales) measures. DQB1*0602 positivity was similarly distributed in the older individuals with insomnia (24%) as in the general population (25%). Most sleep variables were statistically indistinguishable between DQB1*0602 positive and negative subjects except that those with the allele reported that they were significantly less well rested than those without it. When sleep efficiencies were lower than 70%, DQB1*0602 positive subjects reported being less well rested at the same sleep efficiency than those without the allele. Examination of EEG during REM sleep also revealed that DQB1*0602 positive subjects had EEG shifted towards faster frequencies compared with negative subjects. Thus, DQB1*0602 positivity is associated with both a shift in EEG power spectrum to faster frequencies during REM sleep and a diminution of restedness given the same sleep quantity.
Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.