Publications

2001
Van Dongen HP, Price NJ, Mullington JM, Szuba MP, Kapoor SC, Dinges DF. Caffeine eliminates psychomotor vigilance deficits from sleep inertia. Sleep. 2001;24 (7) :813-9.Abstract
STUDY OBJECTIVES: This study sought to establish the effects of caffeine on sleep inertia, which is the ubiquitous phenomenon of cognitive performance impairment, grogginess and tendency to return to sleep immediately after awakening. DESIGN: 28 normal adult volunteers were administered sustained low-dose caffeine or placebo (randomized double-blind) during the last 66 hours of an 88-hour period of extended wakefulness that included seven 2-hour naps during which polysomnographical recordings were made. Every 2 hours of wakefulness, and immediately after abrupt awakening from the naps, psychomotor vigilance performance was tested. SETTING: N/A. PARTICIPANTS: N/A. INTERVENTIONS: N/A. MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: In the placebo condition, sleep inertia was manifested as significantly impaired psychomotor vigilance upon awakening from the naps. This impairment was absent in the caffeine condition. Caffeine had only modest effects on nap sleep. CONCLUSIONS: Caffeine was efficacious in overcoming sleep inertia. This suggests a reason for the popularity of caffeine-containing beverages after awakening. Caffeine's main mechanism of action on the central nervous system is antagonism of adenosine receptors. Thus, increased adenosine in the brain upon awakening may be the cause of sleep inertia.
Mullington JM, Hinze-Selch D, Pollmächer T. Mediators of inflammation and their interaction with sleep: relevance for chronic fatigue syndrome and related conditions. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2001;933 :201-10.Abstract
In humans, activation of the primary host defense system leads to increased or decreased NREM sleep quality, depending on the degree of early immune activation. Modest elevations of certain inflammatory cytokines are found during experimental sleep loss in humans and, in addition, relatively small elevations of cytokines are seen following commencement of pharmacological treatments with clozapine, a CNS active antipsychotic agent, known to have immunomodulatory properties. Cytokines such as TNF-alpha, its soluble receptors, and IL-6, present in the periphery and the CNS, comprise a link between peripheral immune stimulation and CNS-mediated behaviors and experiences such as sleep, sleepiness, and fatigue. The debilitating fatigue experienced in chronic fatigue syndrome and related diseases may also be related to altered cytokine profiles.
Shearer WT, Reuben JM, Mullington JM, Price NJ, Lee BN, Smith EO, Szuba MP, Van Dongen HP, Dinges DF. Soluble TNF-alpha receptor 1 and IL-6 plasma levels in humans subjected to the sleep deprivation model of spaceflight. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2001;107 (1) :165-70.Abstract
BACKGROUND: The extent to which sleep loss may predispose astronauts to a state of altered immunity during extended space travel prompts evaluation with ground-based models. OBJECTIVE: We sought to measure plasma levels of selected cytokines and their receptors, including the putative sleep-regulation proteins soluble TNF-alpha receptor (sTNF-alpha R) I and IL-6, in human subjects undergoing 2 types of sleep deprivation during environmental confinement with performance demands. METHODS: Healthy adult men (n = 42) were randomized to schedules that varied in severity of sleep loss: 4 days (88 hours) of partial sleep deprivation (PSD) involving two 2-hour naps per day or 4 days of total sleep deprivation (TSD). Plasma samples were obtained every 6 hours across 5 days and analyzed by using enzyme-linked immunoassays for sTNF-alpha RI, sTNF-alpha RII, IL-6, soluble IL-2 receptor, IL-10, and TNF-alpha. RESULTS: Interactions between the effects of time and sleep deprivation level were detected for sTNF-alpha RI and IL-6 but not for sTNF-alpha RII, soluble IL-2 receptor, IL-10, and TNF-alpha. Relative to the PSD condition, subjects in the TSD condition had elevated plasma levels of sTNF-alpha RI on day 2 (P =.04), day 3 (P =.01), and across days 2 to 4 of sleep loss (P =.01) and elevated levels of IL-6 on day 4 (P =.04). CONCLUSIONS: Total sleep loss produced significant increases in plasma levels of sTNF-alpha RI and IL-6, messengers that connect the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. These changes appeared to reflect elevations of the homeostatic drive for sleep because they occurred in TSD but not PSD, suggesting that naps may serve as the basis for a countermeasures approach to prolonged spaceflight.
2000
Pollmächer T, Schuld A, Kraus T, Haack M, Hinze-Selch D, Mullington J. Experimental immunomodulation, sleep, and sleepiness in humans. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2000;917 :488-99.Abstract
Infection, inflammation, and autoimmune processes are accompanied by serious disturbances of well-being, psychosocial functioning, cognitive performance, and behavior. Here we review those studies that have investigated the effects of experimental immunomodulation on sleep and sleepiness in humans. In most of these studies bacterial endotoxin was injected intravenously to model numerous aspects of infection including the release of inflammatory cytokines. These studies show that human sleep-wake behavior is very sensitive to host defense activation. Small amounts of endotoxin, which affect neither body temperature nor neuroendocrine systems but slightly stimulate the secretion of inflammatory cytokines, promote non-rapid-eye-movement sleep amount and intensity. Febrile host responses, in contrast, go along with prominent sleep disturbances. According to present knowledge tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is most probably a key mediator of these effects, although it is likely that disturbed sleep during febrile host responses involves endocrine systems as well. There is preliminary evidence from human studies suggesting that inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-alpha not only mediate altered sleep-wake behavior during infections, but in addition are involved in physiological sleep regulation and in hypnotic effects of established sedating drugs.

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