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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Genetic variants associated with sleep disorders.

  • Author(s): Kripke, Daniel F
  • Kline, Lawrence E
  • Nievergelt, Caroline M
  • Murray, Sarah S
  • Shadan, Farhad F
  • Dawson, Arthur
  • Poceta, J Steven
  • Cronin, John
  • Jamil, Shazia M
  • Tranah, Gregory J
  • Loving, Richard T
  • Grizas, Alexandra P
  • Hahn, Elizabeth K
  • et al.


The diagnostic boundaries of sleep disorders are under considerable debate. The main sleep disorders are partly heritable; therefore, defining heritable pathophysiologic mechanisms could delineate diagnoses and suggest treatment. We collected clinical data and DNA from consenting patients scheduled to undergo clinical polysomnograms, to expand our understanding of the polymorphisms associated with the phenotypes of particular sleep disorders.


Patients at least 21 years of age were recruited to contribute research questionnaires, and to provide access to their medical records, saliva for deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), and polysomnographic data. From these complex data, 38 partly overlapping phenotypes were derived indicating complaints, subjective and objective sleep timing, and polysomnographic disturbances. A custom chip was used to genotype 768 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Additional assays derived ancestry-informative markers (eg, 751 participants of European ancestry). Linear regressions controlling for age, gender, and ancestry were used to assess the associations of each phenotype with each of the SNPs, highlighting those with Bonferroni-corrected significance.


In peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, coactivator 1 beta (PPARGC1B), rs6888451 was associated with several markers of obstructive sleep apnea. In aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator-like (ARNTL), rs10766071 was associated with decreased polysomnographic sleep duration. The association of rs3923809 in BTBD9 with periodic limb movements in sleep was confirmed. SNPs in casein kinase 1 delta (CSNK1D rs11552085), cryptochrome 1 (CRY1 rs4964515), and retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor A (RORA rs11071547) were less persuasively associated with sleep latency and time of falling asleep.


SNPs associated with several sleep phenotypes were suggested, but due to risks of false discovery, independent replications are needed before the importance of these associations can be assessed, followed by investigation of molecular mechanisms.

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