Increased sleep fragmentation in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Brain Behav Immun. 2014 May;38:53-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2014.02.005. Epub 2014 Feb 22.


Sleep disturbance in patients with multiple sclerosis is prevalent and has multifactorial causes. In mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a model of multiple sclerosis, we determined the dynamic changes of sleep architecture and the interactions between sleep changes and EAE symptoms. The changes of sleep patterns were mainly reflected by altered sleep stage distribution and increased sleep fragmentation. Increased waking and decreased non-rapid eye movement sleep occurred after EAE onset and persisted through the symptomatic phase. There also was increased sleep state transition, indicating a reduction of sleep cohesiveness. Furthermore, the extent of sleep fragmentation correlated with the severity of disease. This is the first study of sleep characteristics in EAE mice demarcating specific changes related to the autoimmune disorder without confounding factors such as psychosocial impact and treatment effects. The reduction of sleep efficiency and cohesiveness supports the notion that enhancing sleep might facilitate the recovery of mice from EAE, pertinent to the multimodality treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Keywords: EAE; Sleep architecture; Sleep efficiency; Sleep fragmentation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / complications
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Sleep Deprivation / complications
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiopathology*