Author(s): Lamont EW, LegaultCoutu D, Cermakian N, Boivin DB
Abstract Share this page
Abstract The study of molecular clock mechanisms in psychiatric disorders is gaining significant interest due to data suggesting that a misalignment between the endogenous circadian system and the sleep-wake cycle might contribute to the clinical status of patients suffering from a variety of psychiatric disorders. Sleep disturbances in major depressive disorder (MDD) are characterized by increased sleep latency, poorer sleep efficiency reduced latency to the first rapid eye movement (REM) sleep episode, and early-morning awakening, but there is little data to indicate a role of circadian clock genes in MDD. There is also relatively little information regarding the role of clock genes in anxiety. In contrast, a significant amount of evidence gathered in bipolar disorder (BPD) patients suggests a circadian rhythm disorder, namely an advanced circadian rhythm and state-dependent alterations of REM sleep latency. Most research on the role of clock genes in BPD has focused on polymorphisms of CLOCK, but the lithium target GSK3 may also play a significant role. A circadian phase shift is also theorized to contribute to the pathophysiology of winter seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Certain allelic combinations of NPAS2, PER3, and BMAL1 appear to contribute to the risk of SAD. In chronic schizophrenia, disturbances of sleep including insomnia and reduced sleep efficiency have been observed. Genetic studies have found associations with CLOCK, PER1, PER3, and TIMELESS. Sleep and circadian changes associated with dementia due to Alzheimer's disease suggest a functional change in the circadian master clock, which is supported by postmortem studies of clock gene expression in the brain.
This article was published in Dialogues Clin Neurosci
and referenced in Clinical Depression