eLife (Jul 2020)

Sleep is bi-directionally modified by amyloid beta oligomers

  • Güliz Gürel Özcan,
  • Sumi Lim,
  • Patricia LA Leighton,
  • W Ted Allison,
  • Jason Rihel

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 9


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Disrupted sleep is a major feature of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), often arising years before symptoms of cognitive decline. Prolonged wakefulness exacerbates the production of amyloid-beta (Aβ) species, a major driver of AD progression, suggesting that sleep loss further accelerates AD through a vicious cycle. However, the mechanisms by which Aβ affects sleep are unknown. We demonstrate in zebrafish that Aβ acutely and reversibly enhances or suppresses sleep as a function of oligomer length. Genetic disruptions revealed that short Aβ oligomers induce acute wakefulness through Adrenergic receptor b2 (Adrb2) and Progesterone membrane receptor component 1 (Pgrmc1), while longer Aβ forms induce sleep through a pharmacologically tractable Prion Protein (PrP) signaling cascade. Our data indicate that Aβ can trigger a bi-directional sleep/wake switch. Alterations to the brain’s Aβ oligomeric milieu, such as during the progression of AD, may therefore disrupt sleep via changes in acute signaling events.