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Neurology. 2010 Oct 26;75(17):1509-19. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181f9615d.

DQB1*0602 predicts interindividual differences in physiologic sleep, sleepiness, and fatigue.

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  • 1Division of Sleep and Chronobiology, Unit for Experimental Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 1013 Blockley Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6021, USA.



The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) DQB1*0602 allele is closely associated with narcolepsy, a neurologic disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, fragmented sleep, and shortened REM sleep latency. We evaluated whether DQB1*0602 was a novel marker of interindividual differences by determining its relationship to sleep homeostatic, sleepiness, and cognitive responses to baseline and chronic partial sleep deprivation (PSD) conditions.


Ninety-two DQB1*0602-negative and 37 DQB1*0602-positive healthy adults participated in a protocol of 2 baseline 10 hours time in bed (TIB) nights followed by 5 consecutive 4 hours TIB nights. DQB1*0602 allelic frequencies did not differ significantly between Caucasians and African Americans.


During baseline, although DQB1*0602-positive subjects were subjectively sleepier and more fatigued, they showed greater sleep fragmentation, and decreased sleep homeostatic pressure and differentially sharper declines during the night (measured by non-REM EEG slow-wave energy [SWE]). During PSD, DQB1*0602-positive subjects were sleepier and showed more fragmented sleep, despite SWE elevation comparable to negative subjects. Moreover, they showed differentially greater REM sleep latency reductions and smaller stage 2 reductions, along with differentially greater increases in fatigue. Both groups demonstrated comparable cumulative decreases in cognitive performance.


DQB1*0602 positivity in a healthy population may represent a continuum of some sleep-wake features of narcolepsy. DQB1*0602 was associated with interindividual differences in sleep homeostasis, physiologic sleep, sleepiness, and fatigue-but not in cognitive measures-during baseline and chronic PSD. Thus, DQB1*0602 may represent a genetic biomarker for predicting such individual differences in basal and sleep loss conditions.

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