Sleep polygraphy in Angelman syndrome

Silvia Miano, Oliviero Bruni, Vincenzo Leuzzi, Maurizio Elia, Elisabetta Verrillo, Raffaele Ferri
Clinical Neurophysiology: Official Journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 2004, 115 (4): 938-45

OBJECTIVE: Sleep disturbances are frequent in Angelman syndrome (AS); however, beside the few studies which have investigated sleep disorders in AS by means of questionnaires, to our knowledge, no systematic polysomnographic recordings have been carried out in AS patients. The present study represents the first attempt to study sleep patterns of AS by polysomnography, to evaluate the influences of sleep on the paroxysmal electroencephalogram (EEG) patterns of AS and to assess the eventual age-related changes of sleep architecture and of sleep EEG abnormalities in children and adolescents with AS.

METHODS: Fifteen children with AS (7 males and 8 females, mean age 7.2 years, range 3-16 years), attending the Sleep Center of the Department of Child Neurology and Psychiatry of the University of Rome 'La Sapienza' and the Sleep Research Centre of the Oasi Institute (IRCCS) of Troina were included and subdivided into two subgroups by age: subgroup 1, aged 3-5 years, and subgroup 2, aged 9-17 years. Two control groups of age-matched normal subjects were also included: one aged less than 8 years and another aged more than 8 years; additionally, two other groups of age-matched children with epilepsy and mental retardation of different origin, one aged less and one aged more than 9 years were taken into consideration. The statistical comparison between the sleep parameters obtained from the patients and those from the other groups was carried out by means of the non-parametric Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA and the Mann-Whitney U test.

RESULTS: The most frequent EEG abnormality found in AS patients appeared to be the 2-3 c/s poorly defined spike/waves complexes. This pattern was influenced by sleep stages; the duration of the runs showed an increasing length with sleep deepening from sleep stage 1 to slow-wave sleep (SWS). Moreover, the 2-3 c/s bursts activity present in sleep stage 2 showed a slowing to 1-2 c/s during SWS. Regarding sleep architecture, in subjects with AS aged <8 year there was a significant reduction in sleep efficiency as compared to normal controls, while the percentage and duration of REM sleep was significantly lower and the percentage of SWS was significantly higher. REM sleep time was reduced in AS subjects aged >8 years than in normal controls. The comparison between AS groups and mental retardation with epilepsy groups did not show significant differences.

CONCLUSIONS: Similarly to other types of genetically determined mental retardation syndromes, also subjects with AS seems to show important abnormalities of their sleep polysomnographic patterns.

SIGNIFICANCE: This is the first study which reports, in detail, these abnormalities and opens a new path for further insight into the knowledge of additional sleep-related disturbances which are reported in sleep questionnaires by the caregivers of AS subjects.

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