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Altered dynamics in the circadian oscillation of clock genes in dermal fibroblasts of patients suffering from idiopathic hypersomnia.

From single cell organisms to the most complex life forms, the 24-hour circadian rhythm is important for numerous aspects of physiology and behavior such as daily periodic fluctuations in body temperature and sleep-wake cycles. Influenced by environmental cues - mainly by light input -, the central pacemaker in the thalamic suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) controls and regulates the internal clock mechanisms which are present in peripheral tissues. In order to correlate modifications in the molecular mechanisms of circadian rhythm with the pathophysiology of idiopathic hypersomnia, this study aimed to investigate the dynamics of the expression of circadian clock genes in dermal fibroblasts of idiopathic hypersomniacs (IH) in comparison to those of healthy controls (HC). Ten clinically and polysomnographically proven IH patients were recruited from the department of sleep medicine of the University Hospital of Muenster. Clinical diagnosis was done by two consecutive polysomnographies (PSG) and Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT). Fourteen clinical healthy volunteers served as control group. Dermal fibroblasts were obtained via punch biopsy and grown in cell culture. The expression of circadian clock genes was investigated by semiquantitative Reverse Transcriptase-PCR qRT-PCR analysis, confirming periodical oscillation of expression of the core circadian clock genes BMAL1, PER1/2 and CRY1/2. The amplitude of the rhythmically expressed BMAL1, PER1 and PER2 was significantly dampened in dermal fibroblasts of IH compared to HC over two circadian periods whereas the overall expression of only the key transcriptional factor BMAL1 was significantly reduced in IH. Our study suggests for the first time an aberrant dynamics in the circadian clock in IH. These findings may serve to better understand some clinical features of the pathophysiology in sleep - wake rhythms in IH.

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