Circadian regulation of sleep in a pre-clinical model of Dravet syndrome: dynamics of sleep stage and siesta re-entrainment

Sleep. 2019 Dec 24;42(12):zsz173. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsz173.


Study objectives: Sleep disturbances are common co-morbidities of epileptic disorders. Dravet syndrome (DS) is an intractable epilepsy accompanied by disturbed sleep. While there is evidence that daily sleep timing is disrupted in DS, the difficulty of chronically recording polysomnographic sleep from patients has left our understanding of the effect of DS on circadian sleep regulation incomplete. We aim to characterize circadian sleep regulation in a mouse model of DS.

Methods: Here we exploit long-term electrocorticographic recordings of sleep in a mouse model of DS in which one copy of the Scn1a gene is deleted. This model both genocopies and phenocopies the disease in humans. We test the hypothesis that the deletion of Scn1a in DS mice is associated with impaired circadian regulation of sleep.

Results: We find that DS mice show impairments in circadian sleep regulation, including a fragmented rhythm of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and an elongated circadian period of sleep. Next, we characterize re-entrainment of sleep stages and siesta following jet lag in the mouse. Strikingly, we find that re-entrainment of sleep following jet lag is normal in DS mice, in contrast to previous demonstrations of slowed re-entrainment of wheel-running activity. Finally, we report that DS mice are more likely to have an absent or altered daily "siesta".

Conclusions: Our findings support the hypothesis that the circadian regulation of sleep is altered in DS and highlight the value of long-term chronic polysomnographic recording in studying the role of the circadian clock on sleep/wake cycles in pre-clinical models of disease.

Keywords: Dravet syndrome; circadian rhythm; circadian sleep regulation; epilepsy; jet lag; siesta; sleep re-entrainment; sleep timing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Clocks / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Electrocorticography / methods
  • Epilepsies, Myoclonic / genetics
  • Epilepsies, Myoclonic / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Jet Lag Syndrome / genetics
  • Jet Lag Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • NAV1.1 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel / genetics
  • Sleep Stages / physiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / genetics
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / physiopathology*


  • NAV1.1 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel
  • Scn1a protein, mouse