Clinical and neuroradiological correlates of sleep in myotonic dystrophy type 1

Neuromuscul Disord. 2022 May;32(5):377-389. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2022.02.003. Epub 2022 Feb 14.


Abnormalities of sleep are common in myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1), but few previous studies have combined polysomnography with detailed clinical measures and brain imaging. In the present study, domiciliary polysomnography, symptom questionnaires and cognitive evaluation were undertaken in 39 DM1-affected individuals. Structural brain MRI was completed in those without contra-indication (n = 32). Polysomnograms were adequate for analysis in 36 participants. Sleep efficiency was reduced, and sleep architecture altered in keeping with previous studies. Twenty participants (56%) had moderate or severe sleep-disordered breathing (apnoea-hypopnoea index [AHI] ≥ 15). In linear modelling, apnoeas were positively associated with increasing age and male sex. AHI ≥ 15 was further associated with greater daytime pCO2 and self-reported physical impairment, somnolence and fatigue. Percentage REM sleep was inversely associated with cerebral grey matter volume, stage 1 sleep was positively associated with occipital lobe volume and stage 2 sleep with amygdala volume. Hippocampus volume was positively correlated with self-reported fatigue and somnolence. Linear relationships were also observed between measures of sleep architecture and cognitive performance. Findings broadly support the hypothesis that changes in sleep architecture and excessive somnolence in DM1 reflect the primary disease process in the central nervous system.

Keywords: Myotonic dystrophy; Polysomnography; Sleep-disordered breathing; structural MRI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence* / complications
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence* / etiology
  • Fatigue / complications
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myotonic Dystrophy* / complications
  • Myotonic Dystrophy* / diagnostic imaging
  • Sleep
  • Sleepiness