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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2012 Jun;125(6):468-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2011.01796.x. Epub 2011 Nov 19.

Overnight changes in waking auditory evoked potential amplitude reflect altered sleep homeostasis in major depression.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.



Sleep homeostasis is altered in major depressive disorder (MDD). Pre- to postsleep decline in waking auditory evoked potential (AEP) amplitude has been correlated with sleep slow wave activity (SWA), suggesting that overnight changes in waking AEP amplitude are homeostatically regulated in healthy individuals. This study investigated whether the overnight change in waking AEP amplitude and its relation to SWA is altered in MDD.


Using 256-channel high-density electroencephalography, all-night sleep polysomnography and single-tone waking AEPs pre- and postsleep were collected in 15 healthy controls (HC) and 15 non-medicated individuals with MDD.


N1 and P2 amplitudes of the waking AEP declined after sleep in the HC group, but not in MDD. The reduction in N1 amplitude also correlated with fronto-central SWA in the HC group, but a comparable relationship was not found in MDD, despite equivalent SWA between groups. No pre- to postsleep differences were found for N1 or P2 latencies in either group. These findings were not confounded by varying levels of alertness or differences in sleep variables between groups.


MDD involves altered sleep homeostasis as measured by the overnight change in waking AEP amplitude. Future research is required to determine the clinical implications of these findings.

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